how late can you start??

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crofter
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Tell us something.: I'm getting ready to retire. After retirement, I'll have more time, but less money, so I'm considering buying a 1/2 set of uilleann pipes while I still can. I figured this is probably a good place to get some pointers on a good (but not too expensive) set for a beginner.

how late can you start??

Post by crofter »

So how late in life can you start learning to play the fiddle? Anyone here started learning to play past the age of 50?

(I know... I know... You are supposed to start learning an instrument when you are a kid. It didn't happen.)
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Peter Duggan
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Re: how late can you start??

Post by Peter Duggan »

As late as you like because you don't get another chance later!

When I was a music student many years ago I remember some friends' landlady being turned down by one cello teacher because she was 'too old' at 70-odd. Then my 80-something cello-teaching friend took her on! :-)
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whistlecollector
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Re: how late can you start??

Post by whistlecollector »

I don't buy the lie that only children can learn a new language or a musical instrument. It's simply not true.

Anyway, well, you can certainly start learning a minute before you die. Won't have much time to practice while you're here, but you can always take it up again later!
-- A tin whistle a day keeps the racketts at bay.

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Re: how late can you start??

Post by fatmac »

Learning to play an instrument was my retirement project - need something to keep your mind active... :thumbsup:
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Re: how late can you start??

Post by LewisC »

Go for it. Not a fiddle player here, but I started flute at 55 some time ago. I am now thinking harp might be a great next step to get the left hand doing different things like chords, that would be almost age 70.
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Tell us something.: Hello. I'm a historian and musician living near Washington DC. I play the bass and guitar and focus on jazz. I'm interested for reasons I can't quite explain in Irish music. I play the flute.

Re: how late can you start??

Post by PB+J »

I started flute two years ago, age 59. I'll never be a really good flute player, but I've come a long way and the challenge had been great. Frustrating, sure, but also stimulating and rewarding.

Wadda got to lose? Go for it
Flotineer
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Re: how late can you start??

Post by Flotineer »

I started Judo as an adult. As the coach said, the two best times to start are - when you’re eight years old, and today.
est
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Tell us something.: Kind of a beginner with a keyless flute and an antique wooden flute with keys. Used to play accordion back some time ago, but trying to focus on the flute, until I can get some degree of command over it.

Re: how late can you start??

Post by est »

I think the logic behind learning languages and other things as children is just that the brain is still forming those synaptic connections, which makes learning things much easier for them than for adults. But, that just means they will learn things faster.

I started learning to play the flute back in my 20s and then stopped for a good 20 years before picking it back up again. I really think being more mature about it has resulted in much better progress than I ever made at 20 something.
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benhall.1
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Re: how late can you start??

Post by benhall.1 »

Just going by examples I have met, I would say that people find fiddle much harder to learn later in life than, say, guitar, banjo or even flute (which is hard enough). That said, what have you got to lose? Please do get a teacher, though. I honestly don't think fiddle can be learnt without.
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Re: how late can you start??

Post by Gary90 »

I'm by no means an expert musician, but i don't really think its ever too late to learn an instrument. It really takes time and patience.

I was taught the tin whistle in school over 20 years ago and haven't picked it up until 4 months ago. Im back to square one basically.

What is different from then and now is that im an adult, and i understand what sort of playing style i would like to develop and i have more attention to detail so i can pick up on things than i may be doing without noticing. Which i probably wouldn't of cared about back then tbh.
I think alot of life lessons learnt over the years can be a huge benefit to use when learning an instrument.
For example if you are getting fed up with trying to learn a new song or trying to master ornamentation, a child is more likely to put the instrument down and say screw that i don't want to play that instrument anymore, where as an adult would understand a cooling off period and maybe play a few other songs and come back to it tomorrow and try again.

This is just my input on the matter, it may or may not make sense lol hope it helps you though.
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Mr.Gumby
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Re: how late can you start??

Post by Mr.Gumby »

If you have the motivation, the hunger to play, nothing should stop you.

What you want or expect to achieve will determine the levels of frustration or satisfaction you will get from it though.

I knew a man who started the pipes around his 80th, he lived to a great age and had 20 years or more with them and loved every bit of it, going to all sorts of meetings and summerschools and what have you. His playing was terrible but he loved it so that was fine (well, perhaps not when you were playing somewhere and he started up but we forgave him, mostly).

I played with a friend who had played the concertina in her teens. Her instrument failed, she got married, she raised a family but all the time she was around music, pining for the concertina. Eventually, when she was seventy, she got a concertina and she threw herself into it, processing all the music she had heard and internalised during the years she hadn't played. She did great, played concerts, made CDs, appeared on tv, we played big festivals, recorded, played a lot in the kitchen and she had the greatest ten years with it, loved every bit of it, and she went out of a high.

Plenty of examples of failures too ofcourse but you won't know until you give it a fair shot.
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Sedi
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Re: how late can you start??

Post by Sedi »

The only problem I notice -- lack of time and the joints of my fingers getting worn out (typing 36,000 characters a day at the computer for a living doesn't help). When I was 17, I practiced the guitar 3 hrs a day until my fingers bled, school grades be damned. That's probably why I learnt faster back then.
And neuro-plasticity is very much a thing. Something that was really not scientifically well reaearched when most learning-theories were first formulated. Basically means you can learn something new at any point in your life.
My wife started learning accordion at 40 and she practices a lot. I fear (not really the right word, I think it's lovely she decided to learn an instrument) that she will soon be better than I ever was with any instrument I picked up during my lifetime, even though I played my 1st instrument at 8 yrs old.
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