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#1001138 05/03/06 02:10 PM
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Hello everyone - this is my first post, I have been lurking for months, enjoying the encouragement and information and comraderie more than I can say. Now I have a really dumb and superficial question to raise: two years ago, a friend who was moving offered me his old piano, and I decided to indulge a life-long wish to learn to play the piano. I have been taking lessons and practicing diligently every day for the past two years, and although I'm still pretty lousy at it, I really love to play. Now ... (deep breath) ... I will tell you that I'm 61 years old. Is there anyone out there who got such a late start? I'm not talking about picking it up again after many years, I'm talking square one, beginner! Is there hope for someone like me to ever develop any kind of proficiency? If you haven't guessed, I'm looking for some reassurance here, because as much as I love to practice, the contrast between where I am and where I want to be can be pretty daunting!

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#1001139 05/03/06 02:16 PM
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It's not too late!!! I've taught many people your age and older. The key is to enjoy the practice. If you'd like, I can give you some case histories. Do you have a teacher already?

#1001140 05/03/06 02:18 PM
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Hi cat lady, welcome to the forum! I don't think you're the oldest brand new beginner; I'm pretty sure we have a couple of other forum members in their mid- to late 60s who decided to start.

The only time it's too late is when the coroner's van drives up! Look at it this way: Go to our recital thread and play some of the submissions people sent in. Look how good some of those people sound after 5 or so years. Well, that's how good YOU'RE going to sound in a couple of years! And, you'll probably have a heck of a lot of fun along the way.

Closing thought: I was really struck by your phrase "the contrast between where I am and where I want to be can be pretty daunting." I'm sure it feels that way to you right now. But you know what? I'm guessing that everybody up to and possibly including Lang Lang himself feels the same way, no matter how proficient they are.

All that matters is whether you're making progress and enjoying the process. smile

#1001141 05/03/06 02:19 PM
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cat lady--you are truly inspiring!!! welcome to piano world!!! i think its really cool that you started piano. Welcome!!!


If it ain't fun I ain't doin' it:)
#1001142 05/03/06 02:26 PM
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Thanks Scott and Monica for the quick feedback... I do have a teacher (a kid in his forties) and he is infinitely patient. He says I'm doing fine, but he's also the music director for my church choir, and he says "good job!" when I know we were really lousy! And yes, Scott, I would relish a few success stories!

#1001143 05/03/06 03:07 PM
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cat lady you made my day! "a kid in his forties!" being days away from 46, i found that comment delightful.
and interesting...my piano teacher is a kid in her twenties. funny thing having a teacher young enough to be your child.
and by the way, PLAY ON!


Jeff
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#1001144 05/03/06 03:11 PM
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Hi Cat Lady,

I'm fairly new here myself and I will be 50 my next birthday, so we have some things in common (age and wisdom:-).

I have played string instruments most of my life but have only recently started learning the piano (as of a few months ago). Similar to your situation, my mom gave me an old Cable console piano back in January and I have developed a strong desire to learn to play the piano (as well as tune & regulate).

Although having played the guitar, 5-string banjo, mandolin and violin has helped a lot in terms of knowing music theory, the keyboard presents a new and different challenge. I am basically teaching myself, but I have learned a lot here on the piano world forums.

As a word of encouragement from one older student to another, you have a few things going for you: you have a goal in mind; you have determination; you have initiative, and you have a broad range of real-world experience that you bring to the table with you.

You are not too old you are simply mature and that is more of blessing than a curse; you are progressing toward your ultimate goals in life.

Keep up the good work.

Rickster


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#1001145 05/03/06 03:12 PM
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Hi Cat Lady, welcome.....you've already been playing for 2 years....so you are a year ahead of me! I started at 44 and have been playing a little over a year.


When I reach the place I'm going, I will surely know my way.
#1001146 05/03/06 04:03 PM
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61 is NOT old (says 57). 80 is old. You're just starting on the time of your life where you can please yourself and peruse your interests. Play and enjoy!

#1001147 05/03/06 05:16 PM
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I agree! 61 is NOT old.

My mom (who turns 70 in July) is an example.

Back in 1954, she graduated from high school, and went on to nursing school, but was kicked out when they found out she was married. (This was St. Mary's College - now part of Notre Dame - they did that sort of thing in those days at some church-affiliated schools). She had 4 kids, got a divorce, worked in a GM factory for 30+ years, and retired.

Went BACK to school to finish her Associate's degree at age 57.

That wasn't enough. A couple years ago, she decided she wanted to finish her RN degree. So, she went back AGAIN. In addition to going to school full time, they had to work 2-3 days a week for 10 hour shifts as part of the training. Despite wanting just to drop out several times, she stuck with it, and just 2 months shy of her 70th birthday, she's graduating on May 18th as an R.N.

Makes me feel like a slacker.


Estonia 190, #6098
#1001148 05/03/06 05:31 PM
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I vaguely recall watching a documentary on television several years ago about the aging process. One thing I remember from that was this:

Researchers concluded that music ability (the ability to play a musical instrument) was the only skill/ability they tested that did not diminish with age.


Jeff
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#1001149 05/03/06 05:31 PM
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Cat Lady,
I'm 57 and restarted as a beginner after about 13 years. I would have loved to have started when I was young but it was not to be. Like you, playing the piano was something that I had always wanted to do. I just really don't even think about my age....I'm just totally enjoying the learning process. Everytime I sit down at my piano, I'm proud of the fact that I didn't just sit and "think how nice it would be to play the piano"....I'm actually doing it. Just enjoy the process and don't put alot of pressure on yourself - have fun!

Sipry

#1001150 05/03/06 06:00 PM
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Now, admittedly he didn't start at 60, but I saw this guy at Jazz Alley here in seattle a couple months ago. at 91 years of age...

http://www.pinetopperkins.com/

Dressed in a dapper suit, hat and boyish smile, he tottered up to the stage with a cane (and some help), hung his cane on the piano, and proceded to generally outplay the much much younger backing band. It was a sight to behold. laugh


Only the humble improve.
#1001151 05/03/06 06:57 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by cat lady:
I have been taking lessons and practicing diligently every day for the past two years, and although I'm still pretty lousy at it, I really love to play.
And that love you have for piano is all you need to keep yourself pressing on, cat lady. You're not too old to start/continue piano. Welcome to the forum. Perhaps you can contribute something you're working on in our upcoming May 15th recital. Or the next one! laugh

Peace.

#1001152 05/03/06 07:04 PM
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Hi Cat Lady,

When I was in 12th grade, my history/geography teacher was a man in his 70s. He had seen a lot, and knew a lot. During a lecture on the United States, he made the comment, "American is a young people." I then asked him to define "young." Here's his simply reply, "A child knows nothing but the present. An old person looks back at the past. A young person looks forward to the future."

Your 61 years of age tells me nothing about whether you are young or old, let a lone "the oldest." But you told me you "have been taking lessons and practicing diligently every day for the past two years, ... really love to play.". By that, I know you are young, very young.

If it's been two years and you are still loving it, the contrast between where you are and where you want to be is not as daunting as you think!

#1001153 05/03/06 08:34 PM
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Isn't there a saying, "you're only as old as you feel?"

I'm in my "third childhood" because I feel the same mentally as I did when I was a kid. I easily relate to kids, even though I am in a man-size package now. I read somewhere here ecently "you are a soul, you have a body" I really liked that and I think about that quote often.

The significance of age? Forget about it have some fun!

Hobie


"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." Groucho Marx
#1001154 05/03/06 11:33 PM
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All you really need as someone said in the beginning is to enjoy practice and just try to squash those expectations that we have of being better than we are. I started at 49, I am 53 and for the first time I feel that I really should be sitting at the piano. I used to always ask myself "what do you think you are doing?" I am far from good but I love practicing and I love learning ne w songs. So I say no you are not to old. My teacher just started a man who is 77. Enjoy it.

#1001155 05/03/06 11:48 PM
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Hi Cat Lady and welcome to the club. I've been taking lessons for about 5 years this month and I'm 65.

I didn't know one note from another when I started and sometimes I feel that if only I could play music by Prokokiev - just did a job on his name, he's my favorite. Thanks to my piano world friends I'm still at it. I really enjoy the learning process and the fact that I've learned a Chopin a minor waltz, and at present working on a Sonata by Mozart No.545.

When I think back, I never in my dreams thought I'd be learning these pieces. So go for it and enjoy the process. smile

#1001156 05/04/06 12:35 AM
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Cat lady. Congratulations. You are never too old so long as you're physically able to press the keys. Activity keeps you young. I too have always wanted to play the piano and started taking lessons at the beginning of 2005, short of my 70th birthday (square one). I am on my second teacher and have been with her for a year. I love it and have a long way to go. My goal is to play well enough to participate in her recital next spring. btw, there are a lot of activities down here in MA. Why don't you plan on joining us. KathyK comes all the way down from the Lewiston area and you are a lot closer than she is. PianoWorld Frank comes up from CT. It's a great group of people. Check out some of the photos from past events. And keep up the good work.


Lee B.
#1001157 05/04/06 01:47 AM
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go leebea!!


Only the humble improve.
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