Journey Learning To Play Music As An Adult

Did you hear that? She was born with such talent!

Have you heard something similar?  I know I have, in fact, most of my life I heard that musical people come from musical families and it is a genetic thing.  “Either you’re born with it, or you’re not!” That is another thing I heard all the time.  This comment always puzzled me since babies are not born speaking English or German, or any other language, they are taught how to speak the language by their parents.  Growing up on a ranch I also saw my fair share of calves being born.  They do walk pretty quickly but, they don’t just start off amazing at it.  In fact, I bet if they didn’t need to learn so quickly so they could reach for food, they may take a few more days getting better at it because they fall a lot on that first day.

My Inner Struggle

In 2010 I began a real struggle on the inside.  I desperately wanted to learn more about music and how to play at least some of it.  However, I was paralyzed by fear and of the lie I had been conditioned to believe.  I was taught, whether on purpose or not, that music was to be reserved for only certain people, those who were born with a natural God-given gift that I was most certainly not  given.  More over, I believed that adults could never learn music, learning music was only for children, special children, of which I was not.  These lies I believed choked my desire to learn, I would find myself wandering through a book on music in an emotional tirade thinking I was not good enough or smart enough to understand any of the concepts outlined.

TED talks to the rescue!

I’m pretty thankful for YouTube as silly as that may seem; I found TED talks on YouTube when looking into the possibility of an adult learning to play music.  Adults have fully formed brains and if we didn’t learn music as a child, our Corpus Callosum is smaller; therefore we can not learn music because it requires a LARGE Corpus Callosum!  Well, thankfully, this may not exactly be the case, you see as much as human knowledge has improved (we think anyway) there is still much to be learned about the brain, thyroid, and well just the human body in general.  Watching TED talks gave me hope that 1) learning never has to stop 2) an adult brain can adapt and learn new pathways at least some and 3) proper nutrition has more to do with brain function than ever known before.  Jonathan Harnum wrote a book, The Practice of Practice and it really changed my view on my ability to learn this new skill, music.  I highly recommend that you read it.  Obviously, I may never be as good as my children since they started music at a very early age but that doesn’t mean I can’t be good enough to play quite a few songs my friends and family enjoy!

The Commitment

Every week I try to set aside time to practice, that is really the biggest detractor from adult learning, you know, all those responsibilities.  We all run around chasing kids, pets, trying to keep order in the home and still maintain some me time.  Now that I know I can learn music, I actually find it truly relaxing to play the portions I do know well.  Now, while I’m learning a new concept and creating a new neural pathway in that gray matter, it is work!  Sometimes I even think I feel a heated “tar” being laid over asphalt in my brain, so don’t be fooled into thinking adults can learn music means it is easy.  However, it’s work that I love!  I know that I’m fulfilling a life long dream of finally learning piano and violin!  I’m helping to keep my mind sharp and giving my brain power up for later on in life in the event I do suffer from a stroke.  Exercising my brain with music is building alternate routes for the future if I ever need them.  Moreover, I know that I am currently making a joyful noise for my Lord and Savior and one day, one day, it may even be played skillfully for all of you to hear!

Psalm 95:1 O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

Psalm 33:3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

My DD made me this cover sheet for my music binder.  I can tell you she knows I struggle on guitar!  She just thought this cover would be so funny. HaHa For some reason both piano and violin just click in my brain better.  I’m pretty sure that brain signals crossfire when I pick up a guitar.  I know what I’m supposed to do with a guitar but for the life of me I haven’t been able to make it click into place.  Sneetch number 2 on the other hand is a natural guitarist.  He loves it, is largely self taught, and can also play piano!  He doesn’t enjoy piano as much but he plays it well and if he loved it like he does guitar, I’m pretty sure he’d be just as good on one as the other.  It’s already difficult for those who don’t listen to him daily to tell which was his first choice instrument.  Now he wants to start flute as well.  You can be assured this house is rarely quiet unless we are all sleeping.

MomsMusicCover

I hope that this inspires you to at least consider picking up an instrument and fiddle with it.  I’ve got a couple of videos, albeit very amateur ones of what I learned in the first 3 or 4 months of practice.  I need to make some more since I’ve learned a tad on the violin since then. My Music Progress 1 My Music Progress 2 I’m almost too embarrassed to even show these videos but, everyone has to start somewhere!  I’m even more embarrassed that I’ve only made 2!  My hope is, by documenting the change over time, someone can click through and see improvement and be inspired to at least give it a good college try!  Let me know in the comments below if you play or think you may now!

Well, it’s getting late so, as always,

Until next time-

Davi