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Thursday, July 30, 2015

How (and why) to start music lessons later in life

Carlton Wilkinson, composer, music professor, writer and editor, has a doctorate degree in music writes, "A lot of folks I run into — young adults, older folks, some retired — have decided to try to pick up a musical instrument for their own enjoyment."

Ted Velykis owns the Collingswood Music store, which opened last year on Lincoln Avenue. The business offers music lessons to both children and adults. 
Photo: Cherry Hill Courier Post

These are not delusional people itching to be on “America’s Got Talent.” They are just folks sensing music could offer their lives an additional, small sense of fulfillment.

Doctors or friends may have advised them to keep their brains active and to practice coordination with their bodies. Some may be curious to make some of the beautiful sounds they’ve heard all their lives.

Whatever the reason, learning an instrument is a positive decision, to be encouraged. Playing regularly can bring not only a sense of stability and purpose, but also a spiritual and physical sense of balance akin to meditation or yoga.

Partly this comes from establishing a connection with the tradition of music playing, creating a sense of belonging to the long line of students and teachers stretching back a thousand years at least and far into the future.

But partly, too, this spiritual fulfillment has to do with the power of music itself.

Music is probably even older than language. Some researchers believe music and language evolved simultaneously from a proto-language, sounds made by our pre-human ancestors that helped synchronize activities for survival tactics, hunting, courtship, and other aspects of social coordination...

6 tips for new music students
1. Picking the right teacher is more important that selecting the right instrument. Find the right fit for your personality and learning styles. Look for teachers who work regularly with adults.
2. Choose a school or teacher that agrees to teach you music you enjoy. You are more likely to practice.
3. Take notes you can refer to later when you are practicing. You might also record your lessons or practice sessions to hear your own progress.
4. Make both space and time in your life to practice regularly. Consider this time you are giving to yourself. Carve out a quiet area of your home; clear your schedule, ideally when you can be alone. Ask family to respect this rehearsal time.
5. Be patient. Anything worth doing takes time.
6. Remember you are doing something wonderful for yourself and your aging brain.

Source: Cherry Hill Courier Post 

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