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The statement was made earlier today that all adult beginners on piano are suffering a mid-life crisis.

I suppose anyone changing anything about their life at any time, to a sufficiently excitable mind, might be perceived as undergoing a crisis. That said, I don't feel that anything objectively describable as a crisis prompted me to take up the piano.

How about you?
I just read that statement in the thread on the Teachers Forum and I must say, it made me roll my eyes and grit my teeth, even though it was more or less of a throw-away line. What an unfortunate generalization to make of adult students.

No, I did not begin learning piano as an adult because I was having a mid-life (or any other kind of) crisis.


P.S. I thought you had to get a Corvette if you were an adult and having a mid-life crisis. cool
This was my answer in that thread to "Are all adult students having a mid-life crisis"?

Maybe mid-life opportunity. Take the person who as a child had parents who could not afford to pay for lessons or saw no need for them - what choice does he have then? The first adult years involve getting established. The first time you are able to anything about what you wanted to do all along may well be at "mid-life". For some it may also be that the baloney we get fed about "important goals" such as house, car, amenities finally wears thin and they start looking at what actually matters to them. We can do our children a favour by allowing them to stay in touch with their own values and questioning things at a much earlier age.
What a ridiculous idea: People who are old enough to make their own decision to take up an instrument are having some sort of crisis? I think that's more likely about those who put their children through excessive practice (in whatever field) to (re)live their own forgotten dreams.

In my case I always played so I can't really be called an adult beginner. But I did appreciate that I wasn't improving. Hardly a crisis though wink
To be fair to the teacher who said it, I think it was just a humorous throwaway line based on the adult students she had, and wasn't the point of the thread. But yes, I don't like generalisations either.

People in mid-life do often refer to their mid-life crisis flippantly, however, and often in the context of doing something that they've always wanted to do but never allowed themselves to, until now.

I had an adult student whose mid-life crisis involved a Maserati. smile
I hope I am having a midlife crisis, because it means I will live longer than Jiminy Cricket!!!

I'm no fool,
No sireee
I'm gonna live to be a hundred and three!
'Cuz I'm no fool!
My wife tells friends that my mid-life crisis vehicle has 88 keys.

She's joking, of course.

I think.
I have, in jest, referred to pursuing piano as my midlife crisis. But truthfully it really can't be considered an accurate representation of an adult's desire to pursue a passion like music. The term "midlife crisis" is almost always used pejoratively, which I think is why we might take offense at someone using it to describe all adult beginners. Makes it sound like piano is in the same list of pursuits as buying a sports car, dressing like a 20-year-old, and going after a younger mate all in an attempt to reclaim lost youth.

I'm with keystring in that it's more "midlife opportunity" than "crisis." Yes, my decision to finally pursue piano (a lifelong dream) was partly related to my sudden realization in my late 30s that--ack!--the time had to be NOW if I truly wanted to be serious about it. But I suspect with a lot of folks, as with me, that it also has much to do with midlife being the time that one CAN pursue what one loves.

But yeah, "crisis" in this context implies flightiness and the sense that someone isn't grounded and happy/content with who they are. I'd bet that most of us, once we made the decision to pursue piano, were more sure than ever of who we are and what kind of person we want to be.

Several of my adult students have used the term "Mid-life Crisis" as part of their description as to why they are beginning to take piano lessons.

I did not put those words in their mouths.

Its just a phrase popularly used to describe what some adults do when their kids have grown and gone, they have some extra time and perhaps money because they have advanced in their jobs, and now would like to take up something they have always wanted, or buy something like a Corvette, which they always wanted but could not afford.

I don't see what the problem is here, other than "crisis" is perhaps too strong in some instances.
I'd say there is some truth to the idea that many adult beginners channel a lot of effort and desire into a possibly new-found projected self-identity. But the term "crisis" is a bit strong. Does the "life-clock" have some influence? I don't think it does in many cases, but it might, on a subconscious level.
Some, yes, all, no. Many do go back to, or start with music because it was something that they always wanted to do, and realize that the years are advancing.

In my case, I got into piano almost by happen stance, so I would not call it a crisis, more of a happy accident.




ROTFLMAO! smokin

If anyone wants to see a gigantic nursery of midlife crisis'. Come here to the Black Hills the second week of August. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. ROTFLMAO! As many as 750,000 proud Harley owners. Scantily clad post menopausal women. Naked when they can get away with it. The naked biker parade full of those old women and pot belly gray haired men. Steven Tyler falling off the stage at the Buffalo Chip. The Custer senior citizens center transforming into "Harley Davidson of Custer". Without one motorcycle for sale! "Oh we might sell one!" help You gotta see it to believe it!

Piano playing is for people who want to do. Not be entertained by people doing for them. Some have just been too involved in the rat race to do what they really wanted to do.
Grrrrr, why is it a crisis to take up a new hobby??

I like to learn. Always have. Didn't like practicing as a pre-teen, so I quit, like so many do. I've dabbled a few times over the years, but wasn't in the position to own a piano. Finally, after wanting one forever, I treated myself to a new piano as a from-me-to-me gift for completing my Ph.D.

That's my story, but there are as many stories as there are people. Would it be a mid-life crisis to take up photography as a new hobby? Gardening? Join a sports team? Take some dance classes? Learn to be a handyman(woman)?
P.S. Excuse my frustration. I get really annoyed at the way society judges people who don't make the "correct" decisions for their lives. I'm supposed to be married and have a couple kids and a house and be dedicating all my time and money to them. But I'm single and childless at almost 40, I live with my cats in an apartment, I'm learning to play the piano and I like to travel, therefore I'm considered wasteful, irresponsible or in crisis or something. Bahhhh.

*stepping off soapbox*

Now, let's play some music. smile
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
The statement was made earlier today that all adult beginners on piano are suffering a mid-life crisis.

I suppose anyone changing anything about their life at any time, to a sufficiently excitable mind, might be perceived as undergoing a crisis. That said, I don't feel that anything objectively describably as a crisis prompted me to take up the piano.

How about you?


Who made the statement? Someone here on PW ? No way!

(I will most definitely be avoiding south dakota in august....)
Originally Posted by rocket88

I don't see what the problem is here, other than "crisis" is perhaps too strong in some instances.

I do have a problem with it. It makes what may be a serious pursuit sound almost like an illness or at least something trivial and silly. Yes, adults say such things, often because they don't believe they have a right to be serious about such things, and so they make light of it. It is a bit like asking a musician or music teacher what his real job is.
thank god i started playing before my mid life crisis. actually hasn't been much of a crisis (yet) however, i did buy a corvette last year - but no scantily clad young women have asked for a ride. just as well, it's only a two seater and my wife refuses to ride in the trunk.
gw
Many adults may say that they started piano as mid life crisis. But saying is one thing and truth is another. If you say "mid life crisis" no one questions any further. But if you say the truth that you have strong urge to learn to play the piano, it opens up to many questions. If you think about only very small percentage of adults engage in regular piano playing, it may be natural why people wonder about it. In my case, I got questions like,
Q - "Why do you want to play the piano all the sudden?"
A - "Well, I've been thinking of it for a long time. I just love classical music".
Q - "Are you good at it. Are you an artist or something?"
A - "Not at all, I really have to practice for some years to sound decent"
Q - "Then, why are you doing it at your age?"
A - "I don't know. I just cannot help it. Whenever I listen to music of Chopin, for example, I get affected. I feel like I could die for if I can ever play his music, etc"
Q - " Are you planning to teach in the future or do something with piano?"
A - "Teach! No way. I am thinking about taking lessons soon. It's a bit expensive but I hit the wall"
Q - "Are you serious? What does your husband say?"
A - "I'm serious and my husband hates it. He thinks I am a nut cake"
Q - " I'm with you husband on that. You must have a mid life crisis or something. I hope you get over it soon".


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 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


... and that "someday" was never going to happen unless I made it happen.

I think this is a reason that many people take up piano as well as other hobbies as an adult. The movie "Knight and Day" has a similar line "Someday... a dangerous word. It is a code word for Never". I don't think it is a mid-life crisis to pursue an activity that you love. Few of us expect to become concert pianist and completely change our lives. Often piano is a relaxing escape from our hectic lives and a chance to learn and improve ourselves.

I grew up riding and showing horses. I also played piano from age 8 to 13. These were both activities that I loved, but my family situation brought them to an end. Once I was past the frantic "getting established" part of my life as an adult, I bought a horse and started riding again after a 20 year break from riding. Many people probably thought I was in midlife crisis, but I was doing what I had always dreamed of doing. I didn't neglect my business or my family. I just added something that meant a lot to me. Piano is the same way. Playing music is such a joyful hobby, and unless it becomes an obsession to the exclusion of everything else in one's life, I do not this playing piano is a "crisis"!
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.
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.
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.
I'm in the midst of a whole life crisis wink
"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.


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

AB's mid life crisis?

If it's a bright red piano.....
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.
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
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.
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.
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!!!!
Sorry, maybe the last line won't translate well for you because it is not in Greek characters!!! It simply means ENJOY!!!!
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).
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.







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.
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...
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



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.
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.
Monica, congratulations on the impending retirement! I'm right behind you, shooting for Spring of next year. Finally it will be my turn to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine...

Sam
Originally Posted by piano joy


Who made the statement? Someone here on PW ? No way!



All of this because of something I said? Someone's paying attention? To me?

I only wish my students would pay this close attention to what I say. smile
Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
Originally Posted by piano joy


Who made the statement? Someone here on PW ? No way!



All of this because of something I said? Someone's paying attention? To me?

I only wish my students would pay this close attention to what I say. smile


Respectfully, it's not about you but about a statement you made.

We all want to be paid attention to, of course -- including the many adult beginners who posted in this thread. I hope you'll read what they wrote: there are a lot of adult beginners whose motivations and goals have nothing to do with a "mid-life crisis."

.
Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
I only wish my students would pay this close attention to what I say. smile


They are too busy having a crisis ...
I´ve always wanted to play piano.
But when I was a teenager all I wanted to do was drink, smoke, party etc so I never really got into it.

Now im an adult, and a beginner. I bought a keyboard and started learning after I broke up with my ex, since I needed to keep my mind busy.

I think in life we are always in the middle of some crisis, some big ones some small ones, and playing an instrument its of one the ways to relief the stress of those crisis.
Originally Posted by ten left thumbs

All of this because of something I said? Someone's paying attention? To me?

Hey, it's not every day that we get to meet someone with ten left thumbs. smile
OK, I just tried to edit my post and delete that comment, but apparently too much time has passed because the edit button is no more.

It was a rhetorical comment, not aimed at anyone personally, and I would like to apologise to anyone who has taken offence to it. I would urge anyone who has been offended to take the time to read the context - and maybe you will realise I'm having a little crisis of my own. It is not actually what I think - it was not a serious attempt to categorise all adult beginners, but an off the cuff remark in the context of a prolonged and exasperating experience I am having, trying to do my best for clients in difficult circumstances.

Some jobs, you get a staff room where you can go and just let off steam. I don't get that.

Sorry.

The honest truth is that clients do talk - and sometimes inappropriately - about their problems to me, and sometimes I have a hard time drawing the line. What is relevant, what is not.
Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
OK, I just tried to edit my post and delete that comment, but apparently too much time has passed because the edit button is no more.

It was a rhetorical comment, not aimed at anyone personally, and I would like to apologise to anyone who has taken offence to it. I would urge anyone who has been offended to take the time to read the context - and maybe you will realise I'm having a little crisis of my own. It is not actually what I think - it was not a serious attempt to categorise all adult beginners, but an off the cuff remark in the context of a prolonged and exasperating experience I am having, trying to do my best for clients in difficult circumstances.

Some jobs, you get a staff room where you can go and just let off steam. I don't get that.

Sorry.

The honest truth is that clients do talk - and sometimes inappropriately - about their problems to me, and sometimes I have a hard time drawing the line. What is relevant, what is not.


I think most of us realized it was exactly that - an off the cuff remark, in a bit of a vent.
It was nice of you to take the time to clarify here though.


I hope you are able to manage the challenging situation well and end the problems (either with leaving the situation or working it out) without anymore of the stress you've been dealing with.
Apology accepted by this 60+ and some AB, but I didn't need one anyway, and IMHO one was not needed either. In fact if lived in Scotland I'd be knocking on your door for lessons. smile
Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
... a prolonged and exasperating experience...

Some jobs, you get a staff room where you can go and just let off steam. ...


You need to buy a Harley and come to Sturgis this August. whome
Quote
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


Congratulations, on the ER opportunity, although I am sure your will find another endeavor or it will find you. Meanwhile, enjoy the extra piano time.

Like some, it was almost by accident that the piano found me. Once it did, I grabbed on and I am enjoying the ride. Damn the torpedoes... full speed ahead!
I just wanted to do something that seemed like it would be fun and not require heavy lifting or endangering my life ... my mid-life crisis was going back to college, getting a degree, starting a career and getting married ... hope my piano endeavor works as well as that did
Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
OK, I just tried to edit my post and delete that comment, but apparently too much time has passed because the edit button is no more.

That darn edit button!
Quote
Sorry.

The honest truth is that clients do talk - and sometimes inappropriately - about their problems to me, and sometimes I have a hard time drawing the line. What is relevant, what is not.


When I first saw this topic (then went and saw your original post) I will admit I was a bit miffed. But then I realized, as is often the case, there must be more behind the story than the quote.

I think the positive side is that you have got a lot of us thinking about the reasons we either took up the piano as an adult, or started getting more serious about it. And we have our different reasons. I'm not sure any of us are having a crisis (yet) wink But let's keep going.

On a serious note, please make sure that you treat your adult pupils as adults and not children with adult bodies ... I think you'll both get more out of it that way. I truly believe my teacher appreciates me (and her other adult students) as bringing something extra to our lessons, beyond the magic that a child's learning can bring.
I think it's sparked an interesting discussion, too.

But I'll have to admit that ten left thumbs has been around enough that I've decided she and I have a similar sense of humor. And when I read her original post I laughed - it's exactly the kind of smart aleck remark I might have made in that exasperating situation. But I have found that it's harder to make "smart aleck" funny in an internet forum. Unless it's thesession.org, where slagging each other off is an art form laugh Which it was in Oklahoma when I was a kid.

So I love the discussion it's started. But I think the offense was absolutely inadvertent and unintended.

Good for her for recognizing that it didn't quite work when people don't know her so well, or aren't used to that particular kind of humor.

Cathy
My midlife crisis came in the form of a realization five years ago.

I realized that everyone only has so much time on this planet. Like the sand flowing in an hour glass. Every minute that passes you will never get back. Now put a value on wasted time!

I realized that making more money didn't do anything but change the digits in my bank account. The thing is, those digits changed daily anyway so unless I needed more money to do the things I want to, nothing really changed. Now ask yourself, if you don't NEED any more money to live then why are you still working? for what? someday? Just digits changing that's all.

Do what you want to do when you are still young enough to enjoy it. There is a cost to everything that you do. Just don't go wasting your life away working for more and more when you already may have enough to do what you want.

There is now five less minutes of sand in the glass now.
Btw, I was really glad to hear about Monicas upcoming retirement. I think she gets it!

Congrats Monica. I'd bet anything you put your time in. And then some. Now enjoy yourself.

Congratulations on your retirement Monica. I'm crunching the numbers right now, and looking forward to it within a couple of years. Like you, I can't wait to spend much more time at the piano!

Cheers!
Griffin
"all adult beginners on piano are suffering a mid-life crisis."

A glib statement from someone who didn't think before they put fingers to keyboard. We play piano simply because we want to and do not need to justify it to anyone.
Originally Posted by CaptainKawai
"all adult beginners on piano are suffering a mid-life crisis."

A glib statement from someone who didn't think before they put fingers to keyboard. We play piano simply because we want to and do not need to justify it to anyone.


thumb +1

I knew someone would say it for me! Well stated CaptainKawai!


Originally Posted by Lyn in AZ
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 bananas.


grin
Originally Posted by Sam S
Monica, congratulations on the impending retirement! I'm right behind you, shooting for Spring of next year. Finally it will be my turn to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine...

Sam


Sam - let me be the first to congratulate you smile

BTW, Have you read Bill Bryson's wonderful and hilarious book about his adventures (and misadventures) on the Appalachian Trail titled "A Walk in the Woods"? You really should...you really must...
Originally Posted by Monica K.

So I bought my piano and surprised myself at how much I loved playing.

Hope you'll always feel that way.


Originally Posted by Monica K.

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---



(Emphasis mine) - they've organized now - it's called the Occupy Wall Street movement - I'm sure they want you to set the minimum passing percentage to just above 0% - I'd move it up to 75%...


Congrats on your impending retirement thumb
Originally Posted by TrapperJohn
Originally Posted by Lyn in AZ
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 bananas.


grin


Lyn, I'm definitely going to steal your wonderful "green bananas" comment. smile
Thanks, everybody, for your good wishes. It was the right decision for me, and I am already a lot happier and less stressed. thumb Of course, it helps that I am in the fortunate position where my husband's business does well enough that losing my salary is not a hardship, so I have the luxury of being able to attempt a freelance writing career without panicking about not making any money on it (yet). I do have one (barely) paying gig lined up; I write a weekly editorial column for the Appalachian News Express, and I am finally indulging my long-term goal of writing fiction that I would one day like to publish.

But the main goal for me was to spend more time with my kids while they are (a) still at home, and (b) actually want to spend time with me, too. Once their childhoods are gone, I can never get that time back. More time for piano is just a nice bonus. smile
Monica - sounds like if ever there was "good timing" for early retirement, you've found it.

It also sounds like you've got a lot lined up to keep you busy!
I wish you well in this new adventure!
Probably!

I sometimes refer to it as my second childhood. At 60 I started taking a tap dancing class at our local senior center. At 63, I took up piano. And at 65 I played basketball in our state senior olympics. The Bball didn't last though, as too many of our team dropped out, and it was too hard on my arthritic hips. LOL
But it was fun while it lasted.
Sam and Monica -- such exciting life changes! Happy retirements to both of you. (Although I hate that word, "retirement". It sounds like you're going to crawl into bed and stay there for the next 30 years.)

Sam, my husband's retirement prompted him in the same direction -- to the AT. (Now maybe that was a mid-life crisis! smile ) TJ mentioned a book you might enjoy. Here's another one that my husband really liked: A Road More or Less Traveled

Monica, with your extra time, does that mean that we're now going to have monthly ABF recitals? wink
Originally Posted by MaryBee
Sam and Monica -- such exciting life changes! Happy retirements to both of you. (Although I hate that word, "retirement". It sounds like you're going to crawl into bed and stay there for the next 30 years.)

Sam, my husband's retirement prompted him in the same direction -- to the AT. (Now maybe that was a mid-life crisis! smile ) TJ mentioned a book you might enjoy. Here's another one that my husband really liked: A Road More or Less Traveled

Monica, with your extra time, does that mean that we're now going to have monthly ABF recitals? wink


Boldface is my addition!

MaryBee, just because Monica is going to have more time (though that's probably debatable) doesn't mean the rest of us will ! Once a month ack!!!!

Congratulations, Monica and Sam, on your retirement opportunities.

I'm pretty open that starting to play music was indeed a mid-life crisis decision on my part. During my 40's, a bunch of my old friends started dying of natural causes, and it make me ask what I wanted to do or experience before I died. The answer (which totally surprised me) was that I wanted to enjoy expressing myself via a musical instrument.

I guess my ironic & self-mocking streak is wide and deep enough that I can let go and enjoy my mid-life crises (I think I'm on my 3rd one now wink ). The process can be harrowing, but I find the resultant sense of wonder and fulfillment much preferable to what I keep seeing in those of my age-mates who've resisted re-evaluating their lives. So many of them are getting ever more crabbed and cranky, mopped-into-the-corner by all the peevish habits of thought they've accumulated over the years.

I'm now experiencing as great a sense of wonder & potential as I did when I was quite young, and no sports cars or dancing girls (or leather & Harleys) were required.
Retirement? I can only dream
My mid-life crises middle age challenge was just slightly more strenuous, time consuming and physically demanding than piano study - from my late 30s thru my mid 50s I participated in marathons, biathlons and triathlons all over the eastern seaboard (and almost killed myself twice - once from drowning and once from heat exhaustion).

Now after some recent health issues I'm just happy to sit and play for an hour or so every day, get in a round of golf now and then and walk out to the end of the driveway to get the mail and daily paper.

And I do get some additional exercise by occasionally jumping to conclusions, kicking myself in the butt and patting myself on the back...

It sounds as if many of us are enjoyng a midlife crisis!
Originally Posted by malkin
It sounds as if many of us are enjoyng a midlife crisis!

And what would that mean?
I think it means we are enjoying getting to a stage in our life when we can look around a bit and think how we want our life enriched in a way we may not have taken time for before as we were raising children, establishing ourselves in our careers, etc.
Originally Posted by TrapperJohn
My mid-life crises middle age challenge was just slightly more strenuous, time consuming and physically demanding than piano study - from my late 30s thru my mid 50s I participated in marathons, biathlons and triathlons all over the eastern seaboard (and almost killed myself twice - once from drowning and once from heat exhaustion).

Now after some recent health issues I'm just happy to sit and play for an hour or so every day, get in a round of golf now and then and walk out to the end of the driveway to get the mail and daily paper.

And I do get some additional exercise by occasionally jumping to conclusions, kicking myself in the butt and patting myself on the back...




LOL, TJ. You and I have lots in common. smile

I'm currently taking on another challenge myself. I'll be participating in my 1st 5k in 12 years (at age 41). I'm not much of an endurance athlete though...this is nothing compared to the marathons that you've done, but a big deal for me - a teenage 98 lb. weakling...lol. I guess you can call it another life goal of mine - to be decent at running. So...is this a mid-life crisis or a mid-life goal? hmmmm...

Also, I've kind of taken up golf again. Finally got rid of my duck hook after 4 years. I'm just in it for fun this time. Piano is still my top "hobby."
No Mid-Life Crisis here. Hopefully by learning piano now I can prevent one.
This is a funny thread, and it got me thinking. Some midlife crisis clichés that I've seen among my peer group include....
midlife tattoos, plastic surgery, motorcycles, big SUVs, sport cars (or course), trying to dress like a 20-year-old, and toupees.

As mentioned in my other post, some (like me) are also taking up fitness. I guess the common theme with these "mid-life crises" are the need to re-invent oneself whether it be through material possessions, plastic surgery, etc. However, IMO, these types things leave people *still* feeling empty and unaccomplished.

Taking up something as great as piano (or any musical instrument), going back to school, trying to read more books, or running a triathalon, taking up yoga...I hardly consider these midlife crises but still fall in the realm of wanting to re-invent yourself. Personally, I get tired of being the "same guy" year-after-year. As TJ says, it's more of a mid-life challenge....or if you choose to interpret it as crisis, that's fine by me too. smile

Originally Posted by PianoPraise
No Mid-Life Crisis here. Hopefully by learning piano now I can prevent one.


+1. My thinking exactly! smile
Ok, i got piano because I was getting nutty due to my mid life crisis. Can i deduct piano as a medical expense? It worked.
No midlife crisis here either.

But I don't expect playing piano would help or prevent that either. Piano playing is just one of my many projects. Oh well maybe some would say entire life is a crisis :-D
Originally Posted by wouter79
Oh well maybe some would say entire life is a crisis :-D


That made me chuckle. Sometimes when I practice and I get really into it... that's when I forget everything else and feel peaceful. Music silences the chaos in our lives and takes us away.

Something akin to what Jacqueline du Pre said:
"Playing lifts you out of yourself into a delirious place."
You people should read a book named: Younger Next Year

It is true. You can literally, proven in medical tests, make yourself younger each year. I think the key is that we haven't taken care of ourselves. We also haven't known how to do a good job of it either. That book says there is no reason to spend years dying. A slow death from a sickness. We should be living healthy. Until the end should be rather short.

This topic...Like it's said: In an insane society. It is the sane man who appears insane. In this context: I wanna be completely bonkers nuts.

Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
I think it means we are enjoying getting to a stage in our life when we can look around a bit and think how we want our life enriched in a way we may not have taken time for before as we were raising children, establishing ourselves in our careers, etc.


That's what it feels like to me. I feel lucky to be at this stage and able to enjoy it.

Originally Posted by griffin2417
Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
I think it means we are enjoying getting to a stage in our life when we can look around a bit and think how we want our life enriched in a way we may not have taken time for before as we were raising children, establishing ourselves in our careers, etc.


That's what it feels like to me. I feel lucky to be at this stage and able to enjoy it.



Yep.
It's a new adventure.

Our modern word "crisis" comes from words that have historically meant things like turning point or instability surrounding change.
I am 37 and started playing 9 months ago as an absolute beginner. My family and friends have been very supportive. I was expecting alot of laughs directed at my "midlife crisis", but that has not happened. I usually get a "That's cool!". I think it shows that many of my friends also have similar ideas of finally doing the things they've always wanted to do. As stated previously, I now have the time and means to do some of them.

@rnaple- I (only) read the review of the book you mentioned. It seems to say what I tell my patients everyday. Exercise everyday, eat right, enjoy friends and family, have a hobby you are passionate about. I add to this: take a daily walk in sunshine and laugh daily. I don't think these are any groundbreaking key points, but if there are people who don't know this (and there are!)then they should take your advice and read it!

david
Beginning music at 45 PREVENTED me from having a mid-life crisis!!


As we become more aware of the passing away of people we personally know and the fragility of our own lives, I suppose a ‘crisis’ emerges. It occurs at ‘mid-life’ because that is when those events typically happen. At this point we ask ourselves many questions including whether we’ve lived an authentic life so far. Only those who are going through the same will truly understand this. When they don’t, they disparage our choices and moves. What we do with that realization though is what matters, and learning or re-learning the piano is, I believe, in the right direction. As for myself, I studied piano as a child, stopped at 13 or 14, did not touch the piano for more than 30 years, bought myself a digital and re-learned when I was about 48, found myself becoming more serious and passionate about it that I celebrated turning 50 last year by purchasing my very first acoustic grand (perhaps my last?? I’m still dreaming of a larger Steinway ... well, at least it is not the dreaded mid-life crisis Corvette! ... am so glad I don’t have a love affair with cars!). I can categorically say that re-learning the piano has been the most authentic choice I’ve made, unfettered by external expectations and rewards. It reminds me of moments when as a child I could get engrossed in an activity for hours at a time, not caring whether what I am doing leads to anything of value. As adults, I think we have lost that sense. I now play the piano for its own sake, and reading your posts here at the ABF reasserts that for me. :-)

Anyway, just wanted to share this passage by the poet Rumi to all of you adult learners and re-learners of the piano:

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
Originally Posted by lyricmudra
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”


Love this
Wonderful post, lyricmudra! Thanks.
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Wonderful post, lyricmudra! Thanks.


+1. Very wise insight, lyricmudra. :-)
Originally Posted by CebuKid
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Wonderful post, lyricmudra! Thanks.


+1. Very wise insight, lyricmudra. :-)


And to go off topic -- CebuKid, I've watched a number of your Joplin videos on YouTube -- they're fantastic! Thanks so much for putting those up.

If any of the rest of you haven't seen those videos, I recommend them highly -- great stuff!
Very nice post indeed lyric. Changing and getting to know myself its something that i have to do constantly. Playing piano is like that, a never ending journey.
Originally Posted by lyricmudra

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”


Which reminded me of

"...but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now" (Dylan)
Well said Lyricmudra.

When we are very young everything is new and it's difficult to determine the important from the non important due to lack of experience and many other factors. As we age we are better able to sift through everything and find the little flecks of gold here and there. You, myself, and those who participate on this forum have found a big nugget, not just a fleck, and we are all very fortunate.

The piano is gorgeous! I too am a Kawai owner and very happy with the instrument. BTW... which came first... the piano or the piece of art? The artwork so perfectly compliments the piano and vice versa I was curious. Everything blends so nicely including wall color and rug that it appears someone has decorating talent.
Originally Posted by cmbaj
Very nice post indeed lyric. Changing and getting to know myself its something that i have to do constantly. Playing piano is like that, a never ending journey.


I get to know a lot about myself, too, when I am learning and playing the piano -- my desires, frustrations, how critical and how compassionate I am to myself. The piano becomes a microcosm of life itself, a mirror for the self. :-)
Originally Posted by Cmajor
Well said Lyricmudra.

When we are very young everything is new and it's difficult to determine the important from the non important due to lack of experience and many other factors. As we age we are better able to sift through everything and find the little flecks of gold here and there. You, myself, and those who participate on this forum have found a big nugget, not just a fleck, and we are all very fortunate.

The piano is gorgeous! I too am a Kawai owner and very happy with the instrument. BTW... which came first... the piano or the piece of art? The artwork so perfectly compliments the piano and vice versa I was curious. Everything blends so nicely including wall color and rug that it appears someone has decorating talent.


Very true, Cmajor! We are now much better at spotting those priceless flecks. :-)

Yes, I am very happy with my Kawai as well. I just had it tuned yesterday and the piano technician said he loves the action. The piano has been so stable that it took about a year or so before I called the technician to come.

Thanks for the compliment! LOL. The wall color initiated it all six years ago. The rug came shortly after. Then there was a couch on that spot. The artwork arrived about three years ago and the piano bumped off the couch last year. That couch moved to another wall where my digital used to nest. I traded in the digital when I bought the piano. :-)
Started my music endeavor 4 yrs ago when I turned 60 cause I wasn't smart enough when I was younger. Better late than never. Crisis is when you get divorsed!
lyricmudra - I too just looked at your piano photos - a beautiful piano in a beautiful room.
About fifteen years ago, I was undergoing more surgery for abdominal tumors, down to 80 lb, and I said if I ever get well, going to try to play piano as much as possible.. I had majored in music in college but even though still loved it, had sort of let it slip/slide over the years, what with life getting in the way. Always been an "old soul", so hitting 50 next week doesn't really bother me (okay, maybe a little bummed out). frown Just want to play now what I'm really crazy about playing and have the most fun with - cocktail piano music (which covers just about everything, I think). I love other styles, such as classical, but still basically stink at it comparatively. Oh well... Enjoying reading all the inspiring stories here! thumb smile

Elssa
Originally Posted by CaptainKawai
lyricmudra - I too just looked at your piano photos - a beautiful piano in a beautiful room.


Thanks so much, CaptainKawai!! I hope you are enjoying your Kawai, too. :-)
Originally Posted by Elssa
About fifteen years ago, I was undergoing more surgery for abdominal tumors, down to 80 lb, and I said if I ever get well, going to try to play piano as much as possible.. I had majored in music in college but even though still loved it, had sort of let it slip/slide over the years, what with life getting in the way. Always been an "old soul", so hitting 50 next week doesn't really bother me (okay, maybe a little bummed out). frown Just want to play now what I'm really crazy about playing and have the most fun with - cocktail piano music (which covers just about everything, I think). I love other styles, such as classical, but still basically stink at it comparatively. Oh well... Enjoying reading all the inspiring stories here! thumb smile

Elssa


wow, Elssa! glad you're here and enjoying piano 15 years later..and hopefully, > 100 pounds (ha!)
Lyricmudra,

There is nothing quite so grand as a grand... in so many ways.

I think the room is very important and should compliment the piano as your does. It makes you want to spend as much time as possible at the piano because it is so inspiring to walk into a beautiful setting to play.

I took a look at your YouTube site... you play very well. I can only hope to play that well in the future. The recording is quite good... very clear. You whole site is very professional looking an sounding.

A great many of us "mid to older" piano enthusiasts seem to share a common background... music lessons as a young child, the onset of puberty which clouds all sense of reason for several years, then careers and families for a few decades, then back to music.
Not a midlife crisis -- just another rung on the ladder of self-actualization.
Originally Posted by Cmajor
Lyricmudra,

There is nothing quite so grand as a grand... in so many ways.

I think the room is very important and should compliment the piano as your does. It makes you want to spend as much time as possible at the piano because it is so inspiring to walk into a beautiful setting to play.

I took a look at your YouTube site... you play very well. I can only hope to play that well in the future. The recording is quite good... very clear. You whole site is very professional looking an sounding.

A great many of us "mid to older" piano enthusiasts seem to share a common background... music lessons as a young child, the onset of puberty which clouds all sense of reason for several years, then careers and families for a few decades, then back to music.


Thank you so much for your kind words about my room and recordings, CMajor! Setting the place of piano practice is important for me, much like the way some people set up a meditation corner for themselves. I also like to record whatever piece I've 'finished' at least as proof that I knew how to play it once. :-) And yes, these is a common thread in our musical lives.

Perhaps you already know this, but here is a story of a cognitive psychologist/professor who learned to play the guitar at a later age. He documents his experiences and talks about them from the perspective of neuroscience and learning:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/b...s-up-a-guitar.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

http://healthland.time.com/2012/05/...-at-40-qa-with-psychologist-gary-marcus/

Originally Posted by Scott Prell
Not a midlife crisis -- just another rung on the ladder of self-actualization.


Very true!
"I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now" . . . so sayeth Bob Dylan. I had my midlife crisis 25 years ago when I got into vintage cars. They're gone and I'm relaxed enough to play the piano again!

Originally Posted by djheinen
...@rnaple- I (only) read the review of the book you mentioned. It seems to say what I tell my patients everyday. Exercise everyday, eat right, enjoy friends and family, have a hobby you are passionate about. I add to this: take a daily walk in sunshine and laugh daily. I don't think these are any groundbreaking key points, but if there are people who don't know this (and there are!)then they should take your advice and read it!

david


I don't mean to get off on this thread. Will get back on track at the end.
The doctor there is a Gerontologist. The medical field has been doing much research on healthy old people. Learning what and why they are the way they are. The results are interesting. Also the research into younger people. They are developing cardiovascular problems younger and younger. Which will be diagnosed as cardiovascular disease. They are thinking that many diseases are the result of poor cardiovascular health. Some alarming thoughts there.
It isn't just exercise. Or go out and take a walk. It's exercise hard. Give it all you got. Take it serious. Then you will get results. The kind of results that makes doing other things so much more enjoyable. You're literally becoming younger.

A song I have in my "folder" ...working on...

I don't wanna grow up!
I refuse to grow old!
Old is for the young...

Reminded me of this when I read the post on Bob Dylan.
Forgive me too for getting slightly OT, but today I performed for a small family gathering and received a great compliment. smile

One of my cousins stated that I'm the only one in our clan who "still knows how to play." I explained to her that, like everyone else, I too quit, but re-started 4 years ago. Being Asian/Pacific Islander, we all basically took piano lessons as kids. It's basically a parental requirement in our culture.

So..this is one of the "rewards" of my mid-life crisis. I'm the only one who had the guts to take up piano again, and that sets me apart from the crowd.

PS-I played Maple Leaf Rag and Entertainer. These are always crowd favorites!
Originally Posted by lyricmudra
Originally Posted by Cmajor
Lyricmudra,

There is nothing quite so grand as a grand... in so many ways.

I think the room is very important and should compliment the piano as your does. It makes you want to spend as much time as possible at the piano because it is so inspiring to walk into a beautiful setting to play.

I took a look at your YouTube site... you play very well. I can only hope to play that well in the future. The recording is quite good... very clear. You whole site is very professional looking an sounding.

A great many of us "mid to older" piano enthusiasts seem to share a common background... music lessons as a young child, the onset of puberty which clouds all sense of reason for several years, then careers and families for a few decades, then back to music.


Thank you so much for your kind words about my room and recordings, CMajor! Setting the place of piano practice is important for me, much like the way some people set up a meditation corner for themselves. I also like to record whatever piece I've 'finished' at least as proof that I knew how to play it once. :-) And yes, these is a common thread in our musical lives.

Perhaps you already know this, but here is a story of a cognitive psychologist/professor who learned to play the guitar at a later age. He documents his experiences and talks about them from the perspective of neuroscience and learning:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/b...s-up-a-guitar.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

http://healthland.time.com/2012/05/...-at-40-qa-with-psychologist-gary-marcus/



Lyricmudra,

Interesting reading. Some may say we're veering a bit off thread but I don't think so... the original debate was over labeling adult students as being in "mid life crisis", a statement that a great many forum members have debated. As part of that debate, you may find this interesting as well.

I have been working with a study group at a local University Medical School because I adopted piano as a substitute for flying (not any type of crisis or bucket list). I am a retired commercial pilot. Learning the piano requires a blend of motor skills, mastering a large amount of technical data, and the ability to think quickly and concentrate... all skills critical to zipping along at .83 mach in an aluminum tube. I wanted to keep sharp and to maintain the daily challenge. What I discovered is that I was absolutely correct and learning piano was the prefect substitute for flying airplanes. In fact, learning to play piano is considerably more challenging. I have discussed this with several colleagues who are now also retired and they decided to give it a shot. They too report that it is very similar in many ways.

I happened to mention my new project to a neighbor, a professor of musicology at a local University who, by incredible coincidence, was teaming up with neuro scientists in the Medical School to study the effects of music on the brain and cognitive skills in older adults. They contacted me and asked if I would participate in their study. The researchers seemed to be especially intrigued by my comparisons of piano and flying. I thought participation in this study would be very interesting so I immediately agreed to participate.

Not much frightens me but there is one thing that instills terror deep into my soul... Alzheimer's Disease. Both my mother and my mother in law suffer from this hideous malady and it is heartbreaking. Statistically, women seem to suffer from this disease in greater numbers than men but that may be because women tend to live longer... not sure. Since my cognitive skills have actually increased somewhat over the last year I feel that the challenge of piano, as well as the soothing and healing properties of music, has been instrumental (pun intended) in achieving this increase. I don't think there can be any doubt as to the beneficial effects that making music has on the brain.

The research group has done prior studies with young children and the results indicate an increased ability to concentrate and those who study music get better overall grades in all their subjects. And yet... many school districts have cut funding to their music departments and the arts in general because they consider them to be less important than the basic remedial subjects... how ignorant. Very sad and quite possibly disastrous to our future as a nation.


Great post Cmajor! Lots of good information is being shared in this thread!

Originally Posted by Cmajor



I happened to mention my new project to a neighbor, a professor of musicology at a local University who, by incredible coincidence, was teaming up with neuro scientists in the Medical School to study the effects of music on the brain and cognitive skills in older adults. They contacted me and asked if I would participate in their study. The researchers seemed to be especially intrigued by my comparisons of piano and flying. I thought participation in this study would be very interesting so I immediately agreed to participate.

Not much frightens me but there is one thing that instills terror deep into my soul... Alzheimer's Disease. Both my mother and my mother in law suffer from this hideous malady and it is heartbreaking. Statistically, women seem to suffer from this disease in greater numbers than men but that may be because women tend to live longer... not sure. Since my cognitive skills have actually increased somewhat over the last year I feel that the challenge of piano, as well as the soothing and healing properties of music, has been instrumental (pun intended) in achieving this increase. I don't think there can be any doubt as to the beneficial effects that making music has on the brain.

The research group has done prior studies with young children and the results indicate an increased ability to concentrate and those who study music get better overall grades in all their subjects. And yet... many school districts have cut funding to their music departments and the arts in general because they consider them to be less important than the basic remedial subjects... how ignorant. Very sad and quite possibly disastrous to our future as a nation.



CMajor, that's interesting stuff! Since taking up piano again, I also feel "sharper" in everyday cognitive tasks. A lot of those anti-aging books preach about keeping the mind sharp like doing crossword and soduku puzzles, but I think piano is more mentally challenging. smile

Also, there's no question on the music/academic link. Kids in band or orchestra were always the "smarter" kids. It's too bad that our government is training schools to pass standardized exams instead of creativity...but..that's a discussion for another day.
Originally Posted by Cmajor


... What I discovered is that I was absolutely correct and learning piano was the prefect substitute for flying airplanes. In fact, learning to play piano is considerably more challenging. ...


Easy to understand. Or in this idiot's case: rationalize.
I am wondering. How does playing piano compare to landing an airplane? smile I understand this is the hard part. smile

Yes...schools are needing to cut back. Just don't depend on them for anything more than basic academics. Music should be more important than the football, or basketball game, anyways.
I read someplace that researchers studied what is the hardest thing that a human brain can do, specifically regarding difficultly combined with very fast decisions.

The three were (not in order of difficultly):

1. Hitting a baseball pitched by a major league pitcher that is going about 96+ MPH.

2. Landing a jet on an aircraft carrier at night.

3. Playing seriously difficult fast piano music.

If anyone knows of this study, please post a link.
Originally Posted by rocket88
I read someplace that researchers studied what is the hardest thing that a human brain can do, specifically regarding difficultly combined with very fast decisions.


I remember that. I thought number one was...
Keeping up with your wife's moods?
Not exactly on topic but I found this extremely interesting. Also a new word: "neuroplasticity".
Article - woman's book how she 'changed her brain'
Originally Posted by keystring
Not exactly on topic but I found this extremely interesting. Also a new word: "neuroplasticity".
Article - woman's book how she 'changed her brain'


I wish there were a book to change my brain to become a better sight-reader...LOL. From reading all threads on this topic, I'm a little convinced that it's a God-given skill.
Wow, CMajor! That is quite exciting to be part of such a study. You can monitor your own brain as well as your cognitive skills as you progress in studying the piano. I hope the researchers allow you to view data they've collected from you. I suppose this is a longitudinal study.

Learning the piano does require a lot of various technical knowledge and motor skills that have to be coordinated. Executive function in the brain would play such a big role. This is perhaps how it parallels flying a plane. But on top of it all, one has to bring in emotional expression. Being able to do so while managing technique is really tough. Then there is monitoring of the self when performing (e.g., keeping self-consciousness in check, etc.). There are layers and layers of brain functioning going on! We are not even speaking of performing with a singer, another pianist, or an orchestra yet which will require social monitoring as well ... and more. :-)
Originally Posted by rnaple
Originally Posted by Cmajor


... What I discovered is that I was absolutely correct and learning piano was the prefect substitute for flying airplanes. In fact, learning to play piano is considerably more challenging. ...


Easy to understand. Or in this idiot's case: rationalize.
I am wondering. How does playing piano compare to landing an airplane? smile I understand this is the hard part. smile

Yes...schools are needing to cut back. Just don't depend on them for anything more than basic academics. Music should be more important than the football, or basketball game, anyways.


You are absolutely correct... music should be more important than football. In a perfect world it would be but our world is far from perfect. Football programs generate a lot of revenue for Universities while music, not so much. As always, it's about the money.

I'll try to elaborate on my comparison of flying and studying piano. It's all about the challenge and the various skills that have to be perfected if your ever going to be a decent and safe pilot and those used in becoming even moderately proficient at playing the piano. Flying modern airliners is a blend of eye hand coordination, motor skills, developing an automatic response mechanism, learning a considerable amount of technical data, learning to process a lot of real time data quickly and to act on that data without delay, and just pure excitement. I don't know of a single pilot who ever tired of take offs and it this event that is always the favorite... the adrenal rush, the feeling of the awesome power of the powerplants, etc.

Learning and playing piano, for me, is similar because of the skills needed and the rush you get then you first sit down an play something you can recognize as music. For me, it is an incredible challenge on many levels and one that is constantly changing. In commercial flying, no two flights are ever the exact same no matter how many cycles and/or hours you accumulate. I was challenged every single day of my flying career including all the training along the way.

An airliner is a very complex machine that does amazing things when operated by a competent pilot. A piano is a very complex machine that does amazing things when played by a competent musician. With dedication and hard work you can become a pretty good pilot in a couple of years or so.. how long does it take to get really good at piano... even for the very talented? Far longer.

I realize that non pilots may find it difficult to make the association but I can assure you that, of the two, the piano is a much more significant challenge, always changing and never ending. You're always evolving as a pilot and you're always evolving as a piano player, whether professional or hobbyist.
Originally Posted by CebuKid


... A lot of those anti-aging books preach about keeping the mind sharp like doing crossword and soduku puzzles, but I think piano is more mentally challenging. smile...


... and as mentioned elsewhere in this thread physically in the co-ordination required and emotionally. It's the "whole package" that makes it such a difficult yet rewarding skill to acquire.
Originally Posted by CaptainKawai
Originally Posted by CebuKid


... A lot of those anti-aging books preach about keeping the mind sharp like doing crossword and soduku puzzles, but I think piano is more mentally challenging. smile...


... and as mentioned elsewhere in this thread physically in the co-ordination required and emotionally. It's the "whole package" that makes it such a difficult yet rewarding skill to acquire.


Perfectly said!
CebuKid: it's true that some people might take to sight reading more easily than others, but unless there is actually a problem with your eyesight, you (and anyone) can learn to be a highly competent sight-reader. It requires discipline, practice and tenacity but it's part of any professional musician's formal training.
Mid-life crisis? More like a return to childhood, maybe.

I could play piano pretty decently when I was 12, 13, 14 years old (years of lessons by that point). So after various less than entirely satisfying musical endeavors in my 30's and 40's I recently returned to playing the piano every day. What a pleasure to do something where at least the very basics come easily without every tiny little bit of technique having to be learned from scratch.

Piano playing offers me more music for less effort, I think of it as "cashing in" a sort of savings account I was accruing during all those boring lessons and practice drills as a pre-teen. There's still work to do to play all the stuff I'd love to play but while I'm working on more advanced material I can play "simple" stuff that sounds wonderful!
Originally Posted by Brent H
Mid-life crisis? More like a return to childhood, maybe.

I could play piano pretty decently when I was 12, 13, 14 years old (years of lessons by that point). So after various less than entirely satisfying musical endeavors in my 30's and 40's I recently returned to playing the piano every day. What a pleasure to do something where at least the very basics come easily without every tiny little bit of technique having to be learned from scratch.

Piano playing offers me more music for less effort, I think of it as "cashing in" a sort of savings account I was accruing during all those boring lessons and practice drills as a pre-teen. There's still work to do to play all the stuff I'd love to play but while I'm working on more advanced material I can play "simple" stuff that sounds wonderful!


Oh, I like that, well said, Brent. That sentiment (underlined part) holds for any age, and not just piano.

The cool existential question is this...

Would I have gotten as much return from my "savings" if I'd re-taken up piano playing 15 years ago before fumbling around with violin, viola, guitar and mandolin for a few years each?

I actually played and enjoyed different types of music on different instruments and developed a lot of "musical sense" that comes very naturally to me playing the piano now. My wife says if I have returned the piano a in my 30's before all that other stuff it would have bored me quite quickly because I didn't have anything I wanted to express musically.
Originally Posted by Stubbie
Originally Posted by Brent H
Mid-life crisis? More like a return to childhood, maybe.

I could play piano pretty decently when I was 12, 13, 14 years old (years of lessons by that point). So after various less than entirely satisfying musical endeavors in my 30's and 40's I recently returned to playing the piano every day. What a pleasure to do something where at least the very basics come easily without every tiny little bit of technique having to be learned from scratch.

Piano playing offers me more music for less effort, I think of it as "cashing in" a sort of savings account I was accruing during all those boring lessons and practice drills as a pre-teen. There's still work to do to play all the stuff I'd love to play but while I'm working on more advanced material I can play "simple" stuff that sounds wonderful!


Oh, I like that, well said, Brent. That sentiment (underlined part) holds for any age, and not just piano.


thumb +1


Originally Posted by lyricmudra
Wow, CMajor! That is quite exciting to be part of such a study. You can monitor your own brain as well as your cognitive skills as you progress in studying the piano. I hope the researchers allow you to view data they've collected from you. I suppose this is a longitudinal study.

Learning the piano does require a lot of various technical knowledge and motor skills that have to be coordinated. Executive function in the brain would play such a big role. This is perhaps how it parallels flying a plane. But on top of it all, one has to bring in emotional expression. Being able to do so while managing technique is really tough. Then there is monitoring of the self when performing (e.g., keeping self-consciousness in check, etc.). There are layers and layers of brain functioning going on! We are not even speaking of performing with a singer, another pianist, or an orchestra yet which will require social monitoring as well ... and more. :-)


Lyricmudra,

"Executive function" is a term I hear often at my sessions. It seems you are knowledgeable on this subject.

Yes, they not only allow me to see the data (just mine) but we discuss different aspects of the results. And yes, it is considered a longitudinal study. (I had to wait until my next session to confirm) The study is to last 18 months and possibly longer if they can get funded for additional time.

The whole thing is very interesting to say the least. I can actually see scientific proof that my cognitive skills increase on a fairly steady rate just as my piano playing improves at at slow but steady rate. Of course, there are occasional flat spots but, overall, the trend is definitely upwards. All of this has added even more interest, fun, and excitement to my pursuit of music and the piano.

Several other posters on this thread have stated that they have experienced a greater "sharpness" in their general lives since they took up the study of music and piano. By participating in this study I can see actual proof that it's not just their (or my) imagination or wishful thinking. The improvement in one's ability to play an instrument, especially the piano, carries over into your general day to day cognitive functioning.

I'm sure there are countless other challenging occupations and/or activities that would require similar skills and abilities but it is flying I know so that is my where I am able to make a comparison.

I am hoping that my participation in this study will, in some small way, contribute to the eventual prevention of the horrible mental degeneration that is Alzheimer's. It inflicts heartbreaking tragedy on so many individuals and their families.
Interesting stuff, Cmajor.

Personally, I feel so sharp now, I could cut through an iceberg. laugh

I too have a relative with dementia (but of the vascular variety, following many strokes). It is indeed sad to watch the people you've grown up with succumb to this disease.
Originally Posted by Cmajor
[ I don't think there can be any doubt as to the beneficial effects that making music has on the brain.

The research group has done prior studies with young children and the results indicate an increased ability to concentrate and those who study music get better overall grades in all their subjects. And yet... many school districts have cut funding to their music departments and the arts in general because they consider them to be less important than the basic remedial subjects... how ignorant. Very sad and quite possibly disastrous to our future as a nation.



This is something I just cannot understand ... why do so many folk feel threatened by knowledge and the reasoning that's required to increase knowledge ... no wonder our children are lagging far behind others in science and math
Originally Posted by KeysAngler
Originally Posted by Cmajor
[ I don't think there can be any doubt as to the beneficial effects that making music has on the brain.

The research group has done prior studies with young children and the results indicate an increased ability to concentrate and those who study music get better overall grades in all their subjects. And yet... many school districts have cut funding to their music departments and the arts in general because they consider them to be less important than the basic remedial subjects... how ignorant. Very sad and quite possibly disastrous to our future as a nation.



This is something I just cannot understand ... why do so many folk feel threatened by knowledge and the reasoning that's required to increase knowledge ... no wonder our children are lagging far behind others in science and math


This all probably belongs in a new thread but I think the problem has many causes, the most serious of which, is that we allow politicians instead of educators to call the shots and that is a fatal mistake. They are simply not qualified. I wouldn't trust most politicians to mow my lawn properly let alone dictate how a school system should operate. In fact, a highly educated electorate is a politician's worst nightmare. Oh well, they say "ignorance is bliss" so I guess we're all headed for a very blissful existence. Our priorities, as a nation, I think, have been out of whack for some time now.

Back to my piano... where bad things go away, at least for a while.
Originally Posted by Eglantine
Interesting stuff, Cmajor.

Personally, I feel so sharp now, I could cut through an iceberg. laugh

I too have a relative with dementia (but of the vascular variety, following many strokes). It is indeed sad to watch the people you've grown up with succumb to this disease.


Yep, on the sadness scale it is a 9.8. I watched helplessly as both my mother and mother in law progressed from the early stages of terror and denial right up to the point, several years later, where they finally and mercifully enter their own separate world but need to be kept under lock and key like criminals, for their own safety. Alive, but not alive.

The results of this study I'm involved with are very impressive. My cognitive skills are increasing rather than decreasing and I'm in my sixties. The evidence is mounting that the pursuit of music is one of the best tools to at least delay the onset of the nightmare of dementia. The premise is simple... use it or lose it. Of course, exercise and diet are also important.
If we are then bring it on!
Woohooo!
Havent read all the posts on this thread... anyway, I bought the piano because of my hubby's mid-life crisis! Not Me! Since we lost our evenings together, I want to find something else to do so I bought this keyboard.

I can see why people think that because my hubby picked up harmonica instead of piano as a complete beginner, he didn't know any music and soon gave up.
i wouldnt say I'm at middle of my life now, I'm 23 but piano is something I have always wanted to play. Sadly, my parent couldn't afford music lessons or a piano. whenever I visit my aunt's house I wait for the house to be empty then I turn on the digital piano and play with it. just simple tunes, most of the time I end up trying to play mary had a little lamb (embarrassing, I know) while keeping an ear open to the sound of the car pulling up the driveway. whenever I press the keys and by some chance I get it right I get something like an adrenaline rush - I'm actually making music (to my ears anyway). the piano is meant for my 7 year old cousin and I couldn't bear playing in front of people. I'm in my 1st year of medical school and it probably going to be at least another decade till I am able to take lessons for it and even this is not a certainty.

I do feel extremely embarrassed when I picture myself in my late thirties practicing mary had a little lamb but dammit I want to be able to play the piano and hear music from it.
I started late in my 58th year of life. One of my first assigned pieces was the Brahms Lullaby. It was hard! (And also real music, BTW.)

You'll find either that practicing the pieces is rewarding enough that you don't care who hears what you play -- or you'll listen to yourself through headphones.

Either way works. Just don't let self-consciousness stop you. Put your fingers on the keys!
I'm 26 and just began taking lessons. My parents couldn't afford lessons when I was a kid and out of ballet and piano I think piano is the missed childhood pastime I can realistically take up. That and ballet looks like so much work smile.
Randomcloud.... Try Beethoven's 9th symphony. Very easy to play simply. That will help your ego. Good luck with school.

Now now Mareesey... Remember the advice in the post above your's:
"don't let self consciousness stop you". Imagine a middle aged overweight man in tights and a Tutoo. Don't let self consciousness stop you.
rnaple I was only kidding. I really wanted to learn to play piano. I'm in college (another thing I waited to do) and when I stand in line for Starbucks it seems like there is always someone jamming on the Grand Piano in the student union. I also have a friend who started learning a couple years ago and he encouraged me to take lessons. So here I am 2 lessons in and loving it.
Ok. So I'm a 42 year-old absolute beginner and had my first ever lesson four weeks ago. I'll warn you now that this is quite a long post for which I apologise. I hope it will be interesting enough that you won't doze off too early through it though:-)

I have always loved listening to music and still attend a festival and as many live shows as I can fit into each year but I've never considered myself arty or creative enough to do it myself. An extremely brief fliratation with a borrowed guitar about 20 years ago gave me no reason to doubt this was true.

However, this all changed on a recent trip to the New Forest. My girlfriend and I had gone out for an evening meal and the restaurant owner suggested we might like to finish our drinks in the lounge area. It was a typical English summer evening (ie. thunder, rain and temperatures that polar bears would find too chilly) so the opportunity to sit in armchairs in front of a log fire sipping coffee was just what the doctor ordered.

While we were drinking, one of the young waitresses (young being a relative term due to my age:-) I would guess she was in her mid 20s) sat down at a previously unnoticed piano and proceeded to play 6 or so minutes of the most mesmerizing music. A glance at her playing showed that she was totally in the moment. I suspect for her in those six minutes, there was nothing but her and her piano.

She finished to a prolonged round of applause and it was at that moment that I noticed she wasn't even reading from sheet music; It was all from memory. We asked her what the piece was and she said that it was Ludovico Einaudi's "I Giorni". From that moment, I decided that I would love to be able to play that tune. The seed was planted.

It stayed in my mind for the next few weeks and this convinced me to look for a local teacher and buy myself a Yamahama digital piano.

With apologies for the lengthy pre-amble and to get back on topic, I heartily agree with a lot of the other poster's comments:

- The opportunity is there for me now. I have been a home owner for almost 20 years but the last two years have been the first time I've had a house that's just mine which means that practise is not a problem.
- I have time to myself which gives me the opportunity to tinkle the ivories whenever I fancy it.
- About four years ago my philosophy changed (matured?) when I finally realised that you only get one shot at life so why not try things out while you have the chance?

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that from my point of view, I don't see it as a crisis but more of an increasing maturity, a realisation of what makes you happy and a chance to learn something new which ultimately has endless possibilities. What more can you ask for :-) ?
Originally Posted by Reaper_FBB

.... So I guess what I'm trying to say is that from my point of view, I don't see it as a crisis but more of an increasing maturity, a realisation of what makes you happy and a chance to learn something new which ultimately has endless possibilities. What more can you ask for :-) ?


Beautifully said, Reaper -- and welcome! This really is an undertaking where you reap precisely what you sow; may your username predict great piano success for you!

What I found so offputting about the original suggestion -- that all of us who take this up late in life are only responding to some predictable crisis of aging -- was that it ignored entirely sentiments such as the one that you expressed.

Music is an opportunity that's there to be seized by any of us, at any age. That some of us seize it late (but still seize it) is a miracle, not a pathology.
tl;dr

I think the only "crisis" adult learners are going to have is how they're going to find the funds to pay for the piano they absolutely, positively MUST have and simply can't live without. wink

As for me, it was more an opportunity than a crisis. Always wanted to play from a child, parents didn't want a piano (or any musical instrument) in the house "making a racket" - so that was that.

I have a digital now so I can play any time I want - wish I'd had this as a child!
Welcome to the forum, Reaper FBB! smile You will find many other Einaudi admirers here, myself included. I'm not surprised that "I Giorni" could move you so much to wanting to learn piano. The good news is that Einaudi has sheet music available for virtually all of his piano solo work, and "I Giorni" is not technically all that advanced--you will not have to wait for years and years to be able to play it.
Oh well so what if we are? Who cares! No better place to exploit our disheveled state than in the arms of a loving piano!
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