Because one is never too old to learn.

Location: Office kitchen, St. Peter Port, Guernsey

Date: May 2014 (ok, the month might be wrong, I might have made that bit up)

It was 10a.m., or thereabouts, and I had more than likely lost the will to double entry book-keep so off I toddled to the kitchen. Cup O’ Clock. My favourite time of the working day. I always offered to do the tea round in the morning for the team. There were seven of us. I’d get a good ten minutes alone time and my boss wouldn’t be able to reprimand me for lazing about because his Spiderman mug was on my tray.

All the mugs lined up to attention on the counter. The kettle rumbled its boiled chorus in the background. Now, who wanted what?

Oh no, why is she coming in here now? Walk past the door! Walk past! I said to myself.

No, in she trots, like a peacock who has seen better days.

“Morning”, she chants and then decides to peruse my choice of outfit from top to toe. I know I have glasses on but does she think I don’t notice when she does that?

We exchange vacuous pleasantries and then she asks me what my plans for the evening are.

“I have a piano lesson”, I said.

She recoiled, confused.

“Aren’t you a bit old to be learning the piano? What age are you? 37?

I was 33.

“Pass the milk, will ya?”, I replied.

Hang on, I can get this bit

In 1985, Santa left a small, red, toy piano under the Christmas tree for me. It even had a tiny matching seat. How excited was I at age four when I saw this piano? A witch could have put Liberace, Elton John, Carole King and Stevie Wonder into a cauldron, cast a spell to turned them into pyrotechnic unicorns who danced in front of waterfalls of glitter and jelly beans and this still wouldn’t explain what was going on inside my four year old brain.

From that day, I wanted to learn to play the piano. Due to budgetary constraints, this wasn’t an option growing up. Not a problem. I decided when I was 30 that I was turning the dream into a reality.

I trotted off to my first lesson, daydreaming that soon I’d be banging out tunes on the keyboard at house parties, my friends singing along, marvelling at how musically gifted I was.

“Hasn’t she picked up the piano quickly? Sooooo talented! Ammmmaaaazzzzing!”

Well, that dream quickly became an illusion when I realised I wasn’t sure where middle C was and I couldn’t read music. Also, my left hand and right hand now had to do two different things at the same time and my brain decided she needed to go on sabbatical.

So, would I recommend learning an instrument as an adult?

Yes, yes and yes. If you have always wondered what it would be like to play a certain instrument or if you played an instrument as a child but you gave up lessons, why not take it up as an adult? You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

I learned so many new skills:

  • sight reading
  • sight singing
  • improvisation
  • music theory

I’ve also taken music exams and I passed them. Yippee! I’ll write about that experience in another blog. It’s quite funny when your twenty years older than most of the other candidates.

I have a greater appreciation of the music I listen to now because I listen to music in a completely different way.

Most importantly for me, the social aspect of music has allowed me to get involved in the community by joining the local brass and reed band. It has been daunting moving to a new area and into a new community where I don’t know many people so I feel very lucky to be able to get involved with a group of other musicians.

Concluding thoughts.

When my daughter started to learn to stand and to walk, she fell over hundreds upon hundreds of times. I doubt she ever thought to herself,

“Actually, this standing and walking isn’t for me. I can’t do it.”

She persevered and she got there in her own time.

Whatever you feel you might like to try, whether it’s playing the guitar, yoga, fishing, golf, furniture restoration, painting model planes, whatever it is, why not just try it? You are never too old to learn and you are certainly never too old to try.


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