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Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: FarmGirl] #1892006 05/06/12 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by FarmGirl
So if I use the mid life crisis as an excuse, people don't bother me that much.
Q - "I heard you started piano lessons"
A - " Yeah, it's mid life crisis thing"
Q - "Ahh, ok"
I've heard it many times from adult students, and I think your explanation is spot on. They seem to me to be saying "I want to take up piano, please don't laugh at me, and to make sure you don't, I'll laugh at myself. I'm having a mid-life crisis. So humour me." They're joking (much as the poster on the teachers' forum was). I've never said it about one of my students, even if they've said it themselves. Except the guy with the Maserati. smile

I like keystring's mid-life opportunity. In a sense it might be a sort of crisis, where you think "gosh, if I don't do it now I mightn't ever do it". Had those myself. The bad thing is if your efforts and aspirations are trivialised as ONLY a mid-life crisis.


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Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: Monica K.] #1892015 05/06/12 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Monica K.

So, yes, I believe there are such things as midlife crises--I'm hip deep in one right now myself--but I don't think taking up piano is necessarily a part of it, for me at least.


So I'll see you in South Dakota this August? eek

Seriously...very well put.
To put myself more seriously. I was good at music when young. Never pursued it. Instead I clammed up. Put on a false front to make anyone around me happy. In my 20's played audiophile because I didn't want to expose myself. Almost died 8 years ago. Spent 25 years not able to listen to rock and roll. Too depressing. Too many bad memories. Discovered I could sing 3 years ago. I was fooling around with harmonica at the time. Still didn't pursue music seriously...even for a hobby. I had one rock song that really bugged me. I started singing it. The more I sang it. The more I changed it. Until it is what it is now. It did me much good to sing that song. More like therapy. I no longer am depressed by rock. No problem with it. Changing that song made me realize I could even write music. Had tried to play piano before. Twice my finances went down the drain. Couldn't keep away from it. This is my third try. So now I'm learning piano. Working toward writing music. Good at lyrics. I think of it more as my own therapy. It is more for me than anything. I can't "perform". Learned from Janis below a better way to view it. Don't know if I'd ever do that. I do know I'd be perfectly happy dying and leaving some really good songs behind. My only fear is the songs might go straight in the trash.


Ron
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The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon
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Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892026 05/06/12 01:38 AM
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The music inside me quote, I heard before, years ago from Wayne Dyer on PBS TV. I'm sure more than a few people went back to music, or to music for the first time, after watching that segment on TV. For many of those adults, it might well have been part of a mid-life crisis.

For me, writing original music helped me get through a life crisis. I can say I have composed a lot of rubbish. However, I have also written and performed some pieces that are near sublime. I can't tell any aspiring composers or songwriters that they will get to the same place, but a person will never know unless they make the considerable effort.

Even my best work has zero chance of commercial success. Still, the way I have connected with audiences has made it worth it.

I do wonder how many adult beginners stay with it. Is it similar to the 20% of kids that stick, or is it higher? I would guess a bit higher, maybe 33%. Real life has its demands. Unrealistically high expectations about progress and results can lead to disappointments and frustration.

The metaphor of the journey being its own reward is cliche, but appropriate to both songwriting and learning a new instrument as an adult. It may not lead a person to where they expected to go, but if a person goes in with a good attitude, it will lead them to a good place.

Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892055 05/06/12 04:22 AM
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I'm in the midst of a whole life crisis wink

Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892095 05/06/12 07:05 AM
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"all adult beginners on piano are suffering a mid-life crisis."

Well, it might be more accurate to say 'all adults are suffering a mid-life crisis', and if they haven't had one, they're not really living. Would my Masters degree, and my acquisition of various languages, and moves into different professions, all as an adult, also be indicators of - other? - midlife crises?

My taking up keyboard again after 30+ years gap - apart from a little digital keyboard - has little to do with mid-life crises, and more to do with practical issues such as logistics. It's difficult to carry a piano around when you're constantly moving, from region to region and country to country. It's difficult to find room for a large instrument. It's difficult to afford and maintain decent instruments - and pay for tuition - when you graduate into an employment market with 'the highest unemployment ever', 'the craziest house price market ever', 'negative equity', and you are living in the most expensive cities in the world but without the necessary relative pay etc. etc., and you are sometimes just spending practically all your money on keeping the wolf from the door.

The above is even more true for a harpsichord. Everyone I know who plays is either over 47, or a brilliant student/pro who switched over from piano while at university-level music school. Why? Because you cannot pick up free instruments that work, and any half-decent instrument will cost you at least £5,000 ($7,500), more likely £6,000-10,000 for an average instrument, often much more. There are very few instruments on the second hand market, and otherwise you have to commission one to be built (2-year wait, cost £10,000-£30,000+).

Very few people grow up with the instrument at home. Virtually nobody is ever offered tuition under the age of 18. There are not even a handful of teachers even in the biggest cities. You will never find an instrument that you can play/practice on at even a specialised music school, unless it's university level (and even then, there may be only one instrument for the entire college). So most people who now play don't even get to *touch* an instrument until they are well into adulthood. I first set my hands on a harpsichord at the age of 51, and only because a new friend had one.

And you need a lot of space for a harpsichord - this one is 7 feet long and several feet wide, and then you need several more feet along the length for stool/body/leg space, so an instrument will not fit into many 'third/spare bedrooms', and will only fit into many living rooms if you throw out your sofa.

Most amateur players tend to the relatively wealthy with time on their hands and a larger house with a big sitting room, retirees from the well-paid professions, over-55s middle classes who have been saving up for one for decades, and younger zealots who have a bentside spinnet (new cost from £7,000) rather than a harpsichord owing to space/price considerations.




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Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892104 05/06/12 08:04 AM
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I am, unfortunately, well past "mid" but I'm still having the same crises I had when I was younger, videlicet time, money, death in the family, moving home, not moving home...

But now I'm learning to cope with them smile



Richard
Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892118 05/06/12 08:45 AM
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AB's mid life crisis?

If it's a bright red piano.....

Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892123 05/06/12 08:57 AM
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Getting interested in the piano as an adult is definitely not a symptom of mid-life crisis. But the harpsichord, I am not so sure. smile

What about signing up with a piano teacher who is intensely focused on turning you into a perfect student, AND your going along with it? I think there is room to ponder there.

Monica, I hope you enjoy your early retirement. Sounds exciting and scary at the same time. I cannot actually imagine what it would be like.

Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892129 05/06/12 09:11 AM
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Piano is a rather benign..midlife crisis vehicle..some people do way over the top life changes than taking up the piano! just my 2 cents smile


BTW: congradulations Monica! smile

Last edited by Bob Newbie; 05/06/12 09:18 AM.
Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892275 05/06/12 02:01 PM
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Generalizing groups and attaching labels to them is always unfortunate because it is usually based on a subjective viewpoint that has little basis in actual fact.

The term "mid life crisis" is often inaccurately used to indicate people who are merely transitioning from one stage of life to the next, which occurs at several intervals in our lives. There is no crisis at all, just learning to understand the new priorities. Some cope better than others and those that try to recapture their youth (which can never happen) by acting irresponsibly may indeed suffer from the actual clinical condition known as mid life crisis. This condition is considered by most psychologists and psychiatrists to be quite rare. Just Google the term and you will have lots of reading material on the subject.

In the earlier years we often have so many other priorities involved in raising a family as well as career obligations that we have no other choice than to put our own needs and desires on hold until they will have little or no impact on family finances or time constraints. Taking up the piano in the middle years is most often the result of new priorities replacing the old. It is hardly frivolous behavior. As we age, we get smarter (hopefully). Part of getting smarter is that we begin to realize that we are indeed mortal and if there are things we want to get done, especially something that takes a huge investment of time, we had better get cracking. That's not a crisis, that's just getting smarter and more realistic.

I would suggest that any piano teacher who feels their adult students are all in mid life crisis confine their practice to teaching children as they cannot possibly be fully appreciating the motivation and needs of their adult students.

Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: Monica K.] #1892286 05/06/12 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Monica K.


At the going away reception my department threw for me last week, I gave a little speech which I started off with this quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes:

Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.

I decided I didn't want to die with all my music still inside me. Call it a midlife crisis if you want. smile




Wow Monica, I admire you. I am not ready to retire yet. I am still having reasonable fun at my work. I like creative side of my job, coming up with organizational models, strategies & process changes, etc. But after working 16 hours a day two weeks ago, burning both side of candles without single hour of practice, the thought of quitting came to my mind for the first time. Economically, it's not possible yet for us. My dream is to go to music school after I retire. Hopefully we can get there within the next 10 years.

Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: Monica K.] #1892315 05/06/12 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Monica K.
I think in my case that starting piano as a hobby was more likely a cause of my midlife crisis, rather than the consequence of one. I have always wanted to play the piano, ever since young childhood. I grew up with a single mom who was a high school dropout, so we couldn't afford it when I was young, but I swore I would learn piano "someday." About 7 years ago, I realized that my kids were old enough that they didn't have to be looked after every single minute, and that "someday" was never going to happen unless I made it happen.

So I bought my piano and surprised myself at how much I loved playing. Soon I found myself walking toward my office in the morning with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and realizing that I would much, much rather be at home playing the piano than going in to explain to whiny, entitled students that I was not going to pass them in my class if they could not earn higher than a 60% on the work--not to mention feeling resentful that, because of salary compression problems endemic in academia, I was being paid less than brand new faculty being hired straight out of graduate school.

Add to that a whole bunch of other soul-searching and existential angst that I will spare you the details of, along with a tempting early retirement buyout offer, and the result is that June 30th is my last official day as a professor. yippie

So, yes, I believe there are such things as midlife crises--I'm hip deep in one right now myself--but I don't think taking up piano is necessarily a part of it, for me at least.

At the going away reception my department threw for me last week, I gave a little speech which I started off with this quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes:

Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.

I decided I didn't want to die with all my music still inside me. Call it a midlife crisis if you want. smile





Wow!!! I read this and thought....you are my pianistic doppelganger!!! Your story and mine are remarkably similar (same career, started because the kids could manage for themselves a bit, walk to my office dreading time spent away from the piano). I felt as though I could have written your post until I reached the line about early retirement. You immediately changed from doppelganger to fantasy person. Congratulations on the wonderful opportunity that you richly deserve. And what a treat, we will get to enjoy the resulting products of this decision. Na to chareis!!!!


Christine










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Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892322 05/06/12 03:11 PM
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Sorry, maybe the last line won't translate well for you because it is not in Greek characters!!! It simply means ENJOY!!!!


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Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892353 05/06/12 04:05 PM
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I'd have been better off getting a music degree than one in electronics. I'd have been better off with no degree than one in electronics - that's right, I'd have been better off working in a warehouse (more pay right off) and then hanging out in bars and learning how to play the piano in my off time.

In the society I was in, getting an engineering degree was the "right thing" and a degree in music was the "wrong thing" but that was 30 years ago. Now college is a huge black hole, you'll never get your money back out of it. A music degree would have made sense THEN because at that time it was possible to pay off one's student loans; I was able to even under the lower pay that was the price of studying such a bad field. A degree in music probably would have been self-funded, with all the hotels, bars, and coffee shops around the college.

When I lose everything again (it's not a matter of If, only of When for all of us) I'll have a skill that is portable and may save my life some day (for some insight on this, read Selco's story about the guy who played guitar in the Yugoslavian crisis).


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Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892373 05/06/12 04:42 PM
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My starting piano had nothing to do with a mid-life crisis, but it is certainly helping me get through a rough period.


I believe that Keystring's term of "mid-life opportunity" as opposed to "crisis" is more on the mark. That was certainly true for me.









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Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892379 05/06/12 04:51 PM
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Mid-LIfe Crisis - I wish!

At 71 it's more like my bucket list.

It took me 61 years to get a piano talk about a leap of faith - I don't even buy green banannas.

Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892380 05/06/12 04:52 PM
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Monica
Congratulations on retiring healthy and happy and being able to play your piano. I wish you joys and challenges in this next phase of your life. Just having received word that I was granted early tenure (it is my third career so I really should be contemplating retirement) I'm in a bit of transition (some call it post tenure depression). I will still have to go in and listen to students complain and faculty too (since I'm dept chair) and this weekend I'm playing the piano and walking in my yard and wondering if my work makes a difference. I can't quite make myself work on the book chapter that is due in two weeks and I'm not wanting to read the books I've set aside for my academic pursuits. It's not, I think, a crisis so much as a time of reflection and catching my breath. Thank God for the piano which has been a friend for 30 years of my life...


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Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: Monica K.] #1892451 05/06/12 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Monica K.
Oliver Wendell Holmes: Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.


This sounds pretty familiar to me as well. At 42 I decided to get a piano because I've always loved it, and always wanted to learn. But why now? Because now was the time I could afford it. Now was the time I was at a place in my life where I stopped being so wrapped up in things that weren't important that this world screams at me are supposed to be important. Now was the time where I decided and recognized that I've wasted so much time preparing and worrying about things that might happen, that I never actually started living my life. So, I figuratively gave the world and it's philosophy of what an adult should do the finger, and did what I wanted to do. And I'm still smiling every time I look at my piano. grin

And when someone asks me why, or if it's a 'midlife crisis', I look at them like they are crazy and ask: "What? Am I not allowed to follow a dream or pursue a new hobby just because I'm the age I am?" That usually puts them on the defensive because they can never really back up their question with any sound reason.

If you put the ball back in your accusers court, they'll fumble it every time. thumb

I find it also helps to recite the quote: "You become an old dog when you stop learning new tricks." No one wants to admit they want to become an old dog. cool




Last edited by Stryder87; 05/06/12 06:44 PM.

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Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892487 05/06/12 07:34 PM
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Monica, congratulations on your upcoming early retirement! You will love it. Both my husband and I retired (actually, it was take a transfer or lose your job--we took the "lose your job" option, which included generous severance pay) in our 50's and love every minute of it.

My mother gave me piano lessons for a short period of time when I was small. They soon fell by the wayside as the family grew and she was too busy to keep up the lessons. Flash forward multiple decades: the guy I reported to at work was an adult beginner and he kept telling me I should take up piano. So I did. A few months before our jobs ended we got a piano and I started playing. Here's the cool part: my husband, who had taken lessons for six years as a child, and who had indicated no interest in taking up piano again, started playing when we got the piano. He plays way better than I do, too.

So, as for adult beginners: there are many roads to Dublin.


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Re: Are All Adult Beginners Suffering a Mid-Life Crisis? [Re: ClsscLib] #1892646 05/07/12 01:15 AM
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For me I started because I saw lots of people on youtube playing songs I really liked on piano and I wanted to do the same. One other reason is because a girl in one of my classes during an exchange trip in Japan looked at my hands and said to me I had piano fingers.

Before that, I never even thought about learning the piano. Dunno if that is considered a midlife crisis though.

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