Good for the heart, mind and soul

An article in the NY Times recently featured people who turn to making music in retirement. (Joanne Kaufman 1/29/17) Some were returning to playing instruments they played as children, while others were learning for the first time. Their passion for music had been deferred for a variety of reasons — time, money, careers, families, perfectionism, and other distractions. Now, decades later, with time on their hands, more money in their pockets, and the wisdom of maturity, they are digging into music again — dusting off long-neglected instruments, signing up for lessons, and approaching their practice time with enthusiasm and discipline they often lacked in their youth. The benefits abound: the delight in making music again, the satisfaction of mastering (or remastering) skills, the joy of connecting with others, and the continuation of learning.

I love this! It’s never too late. Never. A retired physician friend who adores music and has long played piano told me he recently joined a choir even though he’s never sung, not even in the shower! He finds it exhilarating … and terrifying. He loves it. When I meet Sunday Baroque listeners, they frequently confess their regret at giving up their childhood music making, saying “I wish my parents hadn’t let me quit those [piano, flute, guitar] lessons …” Nobody — NOBODY — has ever told me how grateful they are for quitting.

So if you’re looking for a belated New Year’s resolution, or maybe just some outside encouragement to act on that nagging desire to rescue your lonely clarinet from the basement, here it is. Just do it. And don’t feel you have to wait for retirement — MAKE the time now. Call your local music teacher and tell her Suzanne sent you. Then let me know how it’s going!

One comment on “Good for the heart, mind and soul

  1. Dr. Don Rhudy on

    I had to remark about this topic, too. When I was in high school I played drums 2-3 nights a week in a professional Western Swing Band that was well known in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. We also played a daily radio show. Sleeping through classes (I tried to sleep mostly in Study Hall but could not manage it) I began to fall behind my classmates, and in my Senior year I had to quit the band to earn two extra credits in order to graduate in May 1955. That enabled me to get into college. In retrospect I sure wish I had taken fiddle lessons from my Western Swing bandleader because he was very good, and when I did pick up the violin/fiddle five years ago it sure would have made a difference.

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