"I wish I had learned to play an
instrument! However, it's too late now. I'm too old to learn".
In my business I hear this sort of thing
a lot. I am sad to say those people are absolutely right. If they
it's too late, it is! But "too late" isn't because of age, it's because of
Sure, there are physical reasons why a person
might not be able to manipulate certain musical instruments properly, but such reasons are
not restricted to the aging process alone. Indeed, many young people have handicaps too.
As an example, though I cannot remember his name, none of us who saw a young man without
arms play the guitar with his feet for the Pope a few years ago will ever forget this
incredible moment. Often, the human spirit finds ways to overcome otherwise insurmountable
problems. It was this young man's strong desire, belief and courage that made it possible
for him to do this. He used the tools and talents God gave him to move forward rather than
as an excuse to stand still.
Back to my original statement that many
adults feel it's too late, I would like to offer an example of the New Horizons band to
illustrate the successes countless other adults are having in this regard. Oh, you haven't
heard of them? Well, New Horizons is a senior citizen band concept created by Dr. Roy
Earnst of the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York. The concept , which has caught
on with many New Horizons bands forming across the country, is helping to dispel the myth
that older adults can't learn something new. Participating members include seniors from
all walks of life who have a common interest in music. Some may have played a band
instrument in grammar or high school years ago while others have no prior experience at
all. At last year's opening of the motion picture Dr. Holland's Opus at the Scottsdale
Fashion Square theater, a similar senior band held a pre-show concert. I watched and
listened to this group as they proudly performed. Everyone played with enthusiasm as the
audience enjoyed the music of this unique group.
More and more adults are finding it
challenging, exciting and ,above all, fun learning to play an instrument. If you are in
this group, allow me to offer some valuable information. One of the more popular
instruments is the keyboard. While people may have avoided the piano, thinking it too
difficult, they readily step up to electronic keyboards with their easy-play features.
Vast improvements in sound and performance make keyboards a great way to go. People can
generally learn to read simple music in a few days and with a little help will improve on
their own as they practice songs they know.
Some thought should go into choosing a
suitable keyboard that will give you the best value. For certain, there are those
organ/keyboard shops that realize the potential of the senior market. They attempt to sell
this group on the idea of very expensive over-priced products loaded with features the
average person will not use. Just about any well-known brand of keyboard today has great
sounds and accompaniment rhythms with easy-play features. If you are just starting out,
you will probably be very happy with keyboards in the $400 to $1500 price range.
Also, I would be remiss if I did not
mention the Suzuki Omnichord. This is a strumming instrument developed specifically for
those who do not want to have to read music. It can be played almost right away. With just
a short explanation/demonstration or by reading its instruction book, a person is able to
play chord and rhythm accompaniment to most music. The Omnichord is perhaps the easiest
instrument to play. If a person likes music and has a sense of rhythm, they will be able
to play it. Many seniors have discovered the rewards of music through this unique
Story after story, especially from seniors,
supports the belief that anyone can make music if they so desire. So whether you'd like to
be able to play a trumpet, violin, piano, keyboard, guitar, the Omnichord, or any other
instrument don't be content to only dream about it. Instead, adopt the motto of the 1997
graduating class of Fountain Hills High School: "The key to happiness is having
dreams; the key to success is making them come true."