I was just pondering on this snowy Sunday evening regarding my “late” start to musical pursuits. I use the word late because this is what I heard many times over when I picked up my banjo and made my way down the bluegrass trail one year ago. It almost made me put the banjo back on a peg. I had people telling me children have a much easier time learning. I had others say it did not seem worthwhile if I could not do something with it. I am happy to say I was wise enough to employ a filter which has come with wisdom. And here is what my filter said…
Late is something you are when somebody assigns a time to an activity, and you arrive beyond this time. In my lifetime so far, I was late for parties (we could debate whether you are supposed to show on time). I was late for work. I was late for my period, and we all know where that led! I could not be late for my return to music-making because I was in charge of the arrival time. I own my time now more than ever, and I have assigned a sizable portion to learning music.
On the matter of children learning music more quickly, there is science to back the amazing capacity of a child’s mind to learn. I have a lot of noise in my life, and I have for sure altered my brain chemistry on occasion whether with medicine or a youthful & free night out. My brain still has amazing capacity though, and when I exercise it with music or reading or writing, I can feel it gain power. Our brains can still exercise as adults. Also, I would argue most of us have developed more discipline and passion for pursuing art and other challenging and/or relaxing activities. Finally, I find not having to balance intense schooling with other learning frees up brain waves for music.
On the final topic of what I will do with my music, I have little patience for this discussion. I learn and play music for the love of it. No matter what age you are and what you are pursing, if you are not starting from a place of love and passion, you are not giving your true self to the opportunity. The only goal I have right now is to love what I am doing and learn to do it well.
Late is the new early in my date book. I do not waste time thinking about why I did not start earlier or where I am going with music. I just pick up my instruments every day and learn to play better than I did the day before.
I want to leave you with three practical tips if you are down the same path, even further along than me, or if you are pondering a pursuit of passion on this very day:
- Make sure you find time for the pursuit daily, even if for a few minutes,
- Be rigid about practice time, giving what you can and maintaining focus during practice,
- Find all resources (people, books, online) to help you learn more quickly, and
- Tell your friends, family, and colleagues you would like their support, and what you are doing is important to your happiness.
Good luck. Shred it. Roll it. Pluck it. Play it. Do it.
Nice article to read:
2 thoughts on “Late is the New Early: Better Late than Never to Learn Music”
Loved the piece on being late…i tried to understand my inability to play on time to a click track seeing that i am usually quite punctual in other areas of my life 😅😅😅
Thank you. It takes some work to keep even tempo. I practice for 10 minutes daily with a metronome to keep banjo roll tempo.