For the last five years, I have been a music teacher at Music in the House in Regina, teaching fiddle and more recently guitar. I love the job because I get to see the joy music can bring into one's life, whether it is the satisfaction of finally memorizing a tune, or jamming with friends and family.
The feeling of effortlessly flowing through a tune for the first time and the accompanying glowing grin of accomplishment is always well worth the practice behind it.
As a result, my advice is to start playing that musical instrument (voice included) that you’ve always wanted to learn.
I say this because so many of my adult students have told me they had wanted to learn the violin from a young age, and never signed up for it, or quit as a child and regretted it later.
I also hear they fear they are too old, to which I always have the same response — you’re never too old to start. In fact, there are many aspects of learning an instrument that you can move through much more quickly as an adult.
As you age, learning music has been shown to be an effective way to keep your mind active and healthy for longer. My adult students have told me their weekly lessons are a break from the busy necessities of everyday living to escape into the welcoming world of music to recuperate.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or reuniting yourself with an instrument from your past, give yourself that time to do something for you — your mind, spirit and soul. Challenge yourself mentally and get those fingers moving. Finding time to practice can be the biggest challenge, but it shouldn’t be a big enough hurdle to stop you from trying.
I had the pleasure of teaching a woman whose whole family started taking music lessons at the same time.
Between her and her husband and their two young boys, they covered fiddle, guitar, and drums. I was delighted to hear that jamming became a treasured part of their routine. The boys even became interested in attending live music events.
Music lessons don’t need to be something you just enroll your child in. Be a role model for your children and grandchildren. By picking up an instrument yourself, it can be something for your family to enjoy together.
Individual lessons aren’t the only option. Take lessons with a friend and learn together. This can provide an invaluable support if you set goals together and encourage each other to fit in practice during the rush of the week.
Or, group lessons can be a fun way to play music and socialize. There are also music camps in Saskatchewan and across the country that provide a fun and safe environment to play at all levels and ages.
Do it for fun, and do it for you. Don’t worry about how you sound because everyone has to start somewhere. Those screeches and squeaks will work themselves out — if you are trying your best and enjoying it, the rest doesn’t matter.