I did a search recently on learning to read and right music as an adult. Is
it as hard as learning a new language, since it basically is a language of its
own? Would I fair better as an adult, versus trying to learn as a kid? Could I
ever expect to be as good as someone who has trained in music since they could
stand and walk?  For the most part I got the answers that I had expected, but
there were a few glimmers of hope in there.


First I learned that even though children do learn and grasp with much
greater ease (no surprise there) as adults our enhanced appreciation for certain
things, certain music, life in general, makes the process of learning less
intense and usually a more enjoyable experience than it does as a child. Our
ability as adults to have more say so in the how, what, when, how much practice,
etc, can create a relaxed environment in which to pick up and grasp certain
elements of learning music.  I also came across the opinion that learning to
read and write music, and play instruments makes us smarter (I did say opinion)
but some good points where made.


I read that the desire to learn to play and create music is indicative of
goal oriented people and that drive, that never give up autonomous spirit, is an
embedded thing that exist before and is greatly enhanced once there is success.
I read, and reread a lot things. Some I have heard before, some new theories and
information I am taking in for the first time. What does it mean? I am not quit
sure, but I know what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean at all that I will be
successful at my venture but I think I will, well I have had a lot of joy in
trying.


 


One of the names that came up constantly when I was doing my search was Gary
Marcus, a professor of psychology at NYU. I read about his Guitar Hero
experience that led to his learning to play guitar in his 40’s and then
(surprise, surprise) I came across his book, Guitar
Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning, 
maybe I will check it
out.


(MAYBE)


Some other things that got me to thinking, was talk about instructors and
teachers who specifically develop methods for teaching adults. I have been
pretty confined for the last few year (translation stubborn as all out doors)
and never gave much thought to getting an instructor, probably because of my
limited finances. I did once a few years back check into music courses at the
community college I attended, but unlike a lot of the other course, all music
courses were reserved for those majoring in music. (I took Music appreciation).
Who knows what is next, I think I will start documenting my journey, some more
blog post, some videos to the you tube channel, some picks of tools and methods
I am using to make it easier for me. Hopefully I can get an admirer or supporter
or two who can chime in maybe give some advice.


There will be some more on the Klavarskribo notation, something I just
learned about(no idea) I will have to do some research, but I heard is an
alternative that makes leaning notes easy, and this guitar aid that is
apparently a hit which makes it easy to play chords. Heard there was a lot of
controversy surrounding it, people being called lazy, etc. I need to find out
more. Yeah I am a day late and dollar short as always.


 


 

 
 
She was the most homely looking thing you could have ever imagined. If I had
to describe her today, I would say she is best compared to the character Vicky
Lawrence played in Mama’s Family, yes Mama herself.  Bad wig, floral print
dress, and large bifocals, only difference Mrs. Smoke was an African American
woman and she was my elementary school music teacher. She was probably the most
awesome music teacher ever to walk the planet earth, well maybe not the most
awesome, but I would put money of the fact that she was in the top ten. Mrs.
Smoke was the first person I ever saw play a piano like a mad person and I feel
in love immediately. It was something I had never seen before, coupled with
everything and more that I had heard over the years growing up, in the kitchen
as my mother sang along, in the living via the old mile long thousand pound
record player that had buried itself into the green shag carpeting where me and
my brothers and sisters would dance to Billy Ocean and The Jackson 5,
shocking each other as the static built from our sliding back and forth in our
tube socks. It was great and I wanted desperately to learn how she did it, I
wanted to be able to do that, I wanted to play a musical instrument.


It was only natural then that during my sixth grade year, when Mrs. Smoke
told our class that we would be able to sign up for band that I was one of the
first to place my John Hancock on the list posted on the wall of the music room.
It was exciting; I was excited, the first time I would get a chance to
participate in something I really like about school.  Though my father and all
of his siblings were pretty good athletes, I was never allowed to participate in
team sports at school, which never really bother me that much, even if I had
inherited some pretty good talent from my family. This was different though,
this was something that I could do, this was something that I really wanted to
do, and I was here.


The first day of band consisted of about thirty kids from the sixth grade
class and we were promptly told that half of us would not be there by the time
practices and playing actually took place, which took a little of the air out of
the room as we all looked around trying to pen point who the imposters where. It
was right after those shocking words that we were told we had three weeks to get
our instruments and that was set in stone. Well to make a long story short and
due without the overly emotional drawn out blog post, at the end of three weeks
I was still without an instrument and the last of the hopefuls to return to
class. After three weeks, two days a week of going through breathing exercises,
getting a chance to hold various instruments, and being excited for the first
time about school, it was over. After three weeks of begging and pleading to my
father, I was done. The experience was my first with real music, and I use that
term with love for all forms of music, and my last at really trying to learn to
play music until years later once I was out of school.


It isn’t one of those forever traumatizing experiences that shapes a child’s
future and turns them into a mad man, just a time in my life when I know it
would have benefited me greatly to learn and experience the joy of playing
music. I must admit that when I hear a piece of music that completely moves my
soul now I often think of that time back in elementary school and what if, what
if life had been different for me, when if I had been a little more persistent
like my little sister who ended up with a flute. One can only wander and make
the best of what one has today and hopefully that is what I will do,
hopefully.


JD