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Am I too old?


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#16 Ilewydh

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 20:46

Thanks all. Cornet arrived today , a grubby old Weltkland which has polished up well. Removed 4 tuning slides and cleaned them up and greased temporarily with vaseline. Valves removed and carefully cleaned with hand wash soap and pulled through with soft lint free cloth. Reassembled using a very week mix of liquid soap and water in lieu of valve oil. All on back order. Valves slow to come back up but maybe new springs and proper valve oil will do the trick. Mouthpiece is an old John Ridgeon 3M. Sounds fine but mouthpiece different from 7C trumpet one that I have been buzzing on. Practice practice practice is what is needed now. Any advice on suitable mouthpiece for a beginner if John Ridgeon not deemed suitable?


A 7C is quite a decent all rounder. You can get a Jupiter for under £20.

I've never heard of using soap and water instead of valve oil, although I have been known to spit on mine in an emergency!

Have fun! :D
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#17 Queensmessenger

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 19:18

Nearing 79 and still trying (literally) Last Post time coming up again and did this last year. First time it had ever been sounded in the village. Hoping to do a bit better but having just had a tooth extracted and no time to replace on pallet I am having difficulty with my embouchure.
Way off key on some notes due I think to gap in teeth. Tried plugging with blue tac and use of gumshield. Goodness me far worse with no air getting out at all with gumshield. Trying hard to get better in time which is fast running out. Any tips please. Wish me luck otherwise my name will end up on the back of the war memorial.
Thanks

Doug
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#18 EllieD

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 07:37

Good Luck!!!  :)


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#19 kenm

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 23:24

Nearing 79 and still trying (literally) Last Post time coming up again and did this last year. First time it had ever been sounded in the village. Hoping to do a bit better but having just had a tooth extracted and no time to replace on pallet I am having difficulty with my embouchure.
Way off key on some notes due I think to gap in teeth. Tried plugging with blue tac and use of gumshield. Goodness me far worse with no air getting out at all with gumshield. Trying hard to get better in time which is fast running out. Any tips please. Wish me luck otherwise my name will end up on the back of the war memorial.
 

I have played the orchestral horn since 1950, reached my technical peak c. 1978.  I have been getting slowly worse since c. 2000.  In addition to old age, I also have a missing tooth, upper right 2, so have had to adjust to reduce the load on upper right 1, which complains if I centre the mouthpiece.  I get my best sound and stamina be moving the mouthpiece to the right and sharing the load with upper right 3, a solid canine.  Of course ideally you use only enough pressure to seal all the gaps and get the higher notes with a smiling embouchure, but it's very difficult to do that when the lips start getting tired.  In the late 70s, when I was practising Horn 1 in the Schumann Concertstuck (not for performance!), I did lots of slurring of octaves, C-c-C etc., to "doo-ee-doo", which did enlarge my range upward. 

Playing in tune is mainly a matter of knowing how to bend the pitch above and below the best resonance by changing the balance of load between upper and lower lip: more on the upper lip to sharpen, on the lower to flatten,  Once you have that you can do what yours ears tell you to do to bring a note into tune, but to start a note in tune you need to remember the balance for the pitch you want.

I started on cornet and then tenor horn with a low embouchure, (i/3 upper, 2/3 lower).  You need a high embouchure (3/4 upper, 1/4 lower) to play the orchestral horn properly across its whole range.  That was one slow and tedious change.  The other was getting the mouthpiece solidly on the lower teeth to get a good sound in the bottom octave and a half.  That was easier, because it was added on without throwing lots away..


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#20 thara96

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 06:02

Nonsense!

 

I am 23 and I started relearning the piano after a 10 year break. You are never too old to learn. My advice is to find a good teacher, and equip yourself with the right mindset plus one or two appropriate books and go from there. Best wishes! Oh and a notebook and pen is handy too for note taking during lesson time as well. 


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#21 peterhontaru

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 21:39

Hey :) you're definitely not too old!

 

I've done a fair bit of reading around neuroscience and neurogenesis in particular and "too old" for learning doesn't really exist.

 

Would it be possible to become a concert player if you start at 70+? No, and you're unlikely to do that even if you start at 20. ######, you're unlikely to do that even if you start at 4-5 with the competition but you can definitely become excellent at it.

 

I've only started last year (24 and a half) and have hopefully just passed my Grade 5 today and hope to stick around for quite a while so will have to see how good I can get but you're definitely not to old to become good at an instrument at ANY age.


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#22 Gran'piano

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 14:53

It is great to hear of folk who face the challenge of learning to play an instrument in early adulthood and make astonishing progress. It is good to hear of folk who had lessons earlier, but stopped playing and have now restarted. But this simply doesn't compare in any way at all to the situation of an elderly beginner who has already passed their sell by date with all the deficits which that often brings to light.  And the rare ones who, in their old age, truly start from scratch with zero musical knowledge are in a league of their own. 

 

I appreciate that 'encouraging' words are meant to be supportive and helpful but it doesn't do much for me.  "too old" for learning may not exist, but I prefer to receive advice and hear success stories from those of my age who are doing it themselves, now.

 

Now I'll stagger back to my piano, put on my 60cm piano spectacles and my headphones, turn the lights to maximum, get out the large print scores, slowly unfreeze my wrists and my stiff fingers with five finger exercises, loosen my neck and shoulders again and slowly work my way through a page of  'Simplest Melodies for Very Young Beginners'  If I am quick, I finish a page before my time limit (ophthalmologist's orders) of fifteen minutes is up and I have to have a five minute break.

 

I think this thread should be off limits for anyone under seventy unless they are a teacher who has had real beginners at that age.


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#23 mel2

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 15:17

D a m m i t, at 61 it seems I'm STILL too young although feeling anything but in my day to day life.
I agree with Gran piano that you really need to be there before you can usefully comment.

Having just had 2 ops in 3 weeks and an ill-advised jog beforehand, I have had a foretaste of the kind of enfeeblement that advancing years can bring. As well as putting me in a foul temper as I oof-ed and ouch-ed up and down the stairs and in and out of chairs, it has made me more sympathetic to the frailty experienced by the aged.
At least my woes are temporary, I hope. (Just don't ask me to remember your name.)
And it doesn't help when any difficulty experienced by a senior learner is put down to Alzheimer's! Not that it has happened on this thread but believe me, it crops up regularly. Bah!
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#24 zwhe

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 15:18

I think there's a few people who are going to get a shock if they think they will be the same in their mid-70s as they are in their mid-20s! I'm a teacher, and my observation is it does make a difference, especially for absolute beginners. Joints get stiff, and the memory is not as good (and this actually begins mid-40s according to the latest research).

What you do have in your favour though, is a lifetime of experience and knowledge. My 'elderly' pupils can know more than I do about music! I think that learning an instrument can be just as rewarding whatever your age, but as you get older, you need to enjoy the process as much as the results as it will most likely take longer. You will also need to be more aware of any aches and pains and make sure you warm up properly so you don't injure yourself. I recommend something like pilates or yoga alongside the music lessons, as it helps keep things moving, and improves core strength - again not something your average 20 something will need to worry about, but sitting on a piano stool or standing still can cause back problems if you don't have good muscle support. And there is the issue of reading the music, although dedicated glasses for the correct distance and a spotlight will help.


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#25 Gran'piano

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 15:26

... as you get older, you need to enjoy the process as much as the results.

Brilliantly put. And I do!


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#26 vron

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 15:48

Having had a lesson today where I forgot to take my music glasses with me which meant sitting with my nose not far from the piano book and had a terrible memory lapse day I can so totally relate to this. I started at nearly 59 with very little musical knowledge and without meaning to belittle anyone else's achievements ( because i am in awe of some eg Peter who took his grade 5 today after such a short time)there definitely are things that don't come so easily as you age.

However i fully enjoy the journey and whilst i may not reach where i would have if i started earlier it is so much fun trying.
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#27 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 15:48

Hey :) you're definitely not too old!
 
I've done a fair bit of reading around neuroscience and neurogenesis in particular and "too old" for learning doesn't really exist.

I've read recently quite a number of papers on sight-reading from differing disciplinary approaches and one thing they seem to agree on is facility of working, short- and long-term memories is absolutely central to the level of success in that task. Separately, it's established that the ability to encode new memories shows decline with age in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies (quite distinct from neurodegenerative pathologies).  It's challenging to understand how, at least with sight reading, you've managed to conclude there is no ageing-related limits to learning, unless you're thinking about molecular-level interventions to abate or retard the signs and symptoms of normal ageing?


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#28 peterhontaru

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 18:04

 

Hey :) you're definitely not too old!
 
I've done a fair bit of reading around neuroscience and neurogenesis in particular and "too old" for learning doesn't really exist.

I've read recently quite a number of papers on sight-reading from differing disciplinary approaches and one thing they seem to agree on is facility of working, short- and long-term memories is absolutely central to the level of success in that task. Separately, it's established that the ability to encode new memories shows decline with age in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies (quite distinct from neurodegenerative pathologies).  It's challenging to understand how, at least with sight reading, you've managed to conclude there is no ageing-related limits to learning, unless you're thinking about molecular-level interventions to abate or retard the signs and symptoms of normal ageing?

 

 

I was strictly talking about learning as in general skill development and neurogenesis. I'm aware that sight reading is very different and never said learning doesn't slow down, of course it does. And yes, some things are impossible to learn as you grow. I wouldn't develop perfect pitch nor become natural at speaking mandarin even if I spend the next 70 years doing that daily.

 

Unfortunately, I never really looked into sight reading development during my academic studies (it was mostly brain trauma as that's what my research was based on and general concepts in skill development whether it was in humans or animals). Did you find any interesting studies? It would save me from going through systematic reviews (if any) or looking blindly throughout the literature for sight reading stuff. Would like to look through a couple articles myself.

 

While I don't know any people who took up piano at an old age, I've met a lot of people last year at my rowing club who took up rowing after retirement so just before the age of 70. I guarantee you that rowing technique is NOT easy to develop and while I was faster than the older group, I would get absolutely destroyed if anyone would compare my technique with theirs. Again, some have done it for 5+ years versus my half a year but my point is here that you can develop a skill at any age not that you'd develop it better/faster/more efficiently than someone younger. Also, there was an older team who took part in the Henley Royal Regatta if my memory serves me right, which is the highest level you can compete in the UK, if not in the world. Would they have been better if they started at 5-10-20-30-etc? Of course they would've been but again, the point is that it's possible not that it's the best thing to do. 

 

I would become extremely sad if I even think that despite all the hard work I've been doing in the past two years there's hundreds/thousands of 5 year olds (prodigies excluded) who are much better than me simply because they started earlier. But then again, we only have one shot at this life thing so I'd rather learn as best as I can with what's in front of me and whenever I can than not learn at all.

 

Thanks for being more specific in your approach and sorry if my point was not specific enough :)

 

 

Having had a lesson today where I forgot to take my music glasses with me which meant sitting with my nose not far from the piano book and had a terrible memory lapse day I can so totally relate to this. I started at nearly 59 with very little musical knowledge and without meaning to belittle anyone else's achievements ( because i am in awe of some eg Peter who took his grade 5 today after such a short time)there definitely are things that don't come so easily as you age.

However i fully enjoy the journey and whilst i may not reach where i would have if i started earlier it is so much fun trying.

 

Also, absolutely no offence taken and although I'm relatively late, I understand my privilege and that being under 25 is different to being 70 or even 35!

 

Without meaning to be arrogant, I know that there's not many people that achieved 5 grades (well, will see once the results come in) in under 2 years and I highly doubt that anyone ever achieved it after 70 with ~ hour a day of practice in less than 2 years. I think there are the likes of Benjamin Grosvenor who did 8 grades in a year but 1) they're prodigies and 2) it was a a lot more than one hour a day and 3) they would've had lessons with Artistic Director of X/Y/Z conservatoire.


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#29 vron

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 22:21

Just to add that I think you have done tremendously well to achieve grade 5 in such a short time and agree not all are capable of this.

I think you have a talent/musical bent/ call it what you will but that doesn't mean that you have not had to put all the hard work in to achieve this success.
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#30 peterhontaru

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 22:56

Just to add that I think you have done tremendously well to achieve grade 5 in such a short time and agree not all are capable of this.

I think you have a talent/musical bent/ call it what you will but that doesn't mean that you have not had to put all the hard work in to achieve this success.

 

thank you vron - I'm not sure if there's necessarily a talent but maybe a predisposition to always learn new things which I've always been inclined to (openness of mind). Due to this, maybe I've developed specific routines (through trying various things) and then a good understanding of what works for me that might help with picking up seemingly unrelated things faster. I do think that a good work ethic and the sacrifices I've made are the main reasons behind this as well as the ability to sit down and focus on something I actually care about.

 

I'm considering making a video at some point after I get my full results where I talk through my journey so far, what went well, what helped me the most and general advice that I found useful. I think I picked up a lot of good principles through my short journey so far and they might bring value to others, particularly those interested in exams or just general piano learning. I might make a topic to ask for questions that others might be interested in knowing as well. Never really been one for posting videos publicly of my experiences but I feel like I would "rob" others if all I share is my playing but not what really went behind all of the playing and putting myself out of my comfort zone at the same time. Let me know if you have anything on the back of your head as I'll start making a list and thanks again for the kind words


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