I thought I’d rehash this blog from a few years ago in light of the Covid-19 situation and the fact that you might very well be locked down or at least social isolating. Why not make music, learn a new skill and exercise your brain too, it’s easier than you think and makes you feel great too!
Too old to make the attempt? Regret you didn’t stick with those music lessons as a kid? Well despite the young brain having its well-known advantages when creating new neurological pathways, the young mind isn’t always willing or able to do all that practice!
MYTH 1: I can’t learn because my neural pathways are already set!
Since you have been listening to music for several decades neurological pathways have already been set without the work! The experience we gain over a lifetime and the knowledge of what we want to do and learn give great advantage. Like our school systems which seem designed to make every child a professor, many of us can get to skip the drudgery of learning scales etc. and go straight to playing the music we enjoy, after all we’re not aiming for virtuosity are we?
MYTH 2: I’m too old to be a beginner!
Learning is more productive when by choice and one is interested and keen rather than being compelled to practice. You choose the instrument and the music genre and since life teaches us at least some self-discipline adults have a better ability to stick with it. Hopefully whilst TOYLing you’ll have more time too! My teacher has a student who started in their 80’s – too old? They don’t think so!
MYTH 3: I’ve not got the time!
It is said it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert, however we’ve missed THAT boat but the next one along is called the ‘Play for Fun’. As an adult either retired or looking to actively TOYL there IS time even in the busiest day. Making it possible and easy is key, it won’t work if you have to set-up a complicated system. I have an electric guitar and a tiny amp with headphones at work. I’ve even seen piano keyboards that roll up! So rather than make sacrifices and excuses, you can make it work AND destress too! If you’ve only a few minutes and a beginner’s book then progress will be slower than someone having hours of lessons every day – but remember it’s not a competition, it’s ALL about YOU and there is no class prize!
MYTH 4: It will complicate an already busy life!
True, but only if you want or let it. If it’s not for you and you’ve given it a chance let it go. However you may find other areas of your life get more hectic as you prioritise playing music over household chores! Since learning an instrument is mainly a solitary pursuit it is ideal for getting more ‘me time’ too! Make it simple. There are literally thousands of free YouTube videos so why not take a look now whilst you are staring at the screen click here
As someone without ANY innate musical talent but a desire to play guitar I have found that along with time and practice one needs a good and tolerant teacher. I have to say I have found Kieran ‘K-man’ Coughlan to be excellent. We started a couple of years ago when he was in London but now see each other twice a week on Skype and it’s magical – it works well for us both – I do a lesson at work in ‘quiet time’ – (That’s my quiet time, not theirs! – I have a cheap solid body electric guitar (So makes little ‘noise’ on its own) and tiny amp – Blackstar-FLY3 – But if you are in an area where keeping the sound down is important it has a headphone socket too or use something like the Vox amPlug 2 – guitar to headphones direct!) I also do a longer lesson at home where I have all the gear but no idea!
(It should be possible to set up a microphone and a guitar input directly to the computer so that Skype lessons etc. could be even quieter. Another issue is if we play along to a backing track on the PC Skype will ignore the sound of this but still hear my voice and guitar playing – How does it do that? Is there an answer – It’s REALLY weird – Help me out if you can – I think Macs don’t do this? Crazy stuff like this does my head in! Whilst I’m on the ‘digital’ case I’ve found a great way to help learning guitar etc. Backing tracks etc. that Kieran puts on YouTube (there are other providers too!) can be slowed down without affecting the sound quality and even ‘looped’ so that a particular phrase etc. will repeat over and over – Download with UmmyVideoDownloader and playback using VAR Media Player – free!)
You might think (..or not if you know me!) I’d be a rock-god by now and in the privacy of my back bedroom I am for seconds or even minutes at a time! – However even Kieran hasn’t made the BIG time YET so even with all that talent it’s not a given and thus for now I’m sticking with the day job (…albeit I’m transitioning to less work, more guitar etc!)
Please pass this on – Kieran on Skype can be accessed by anyone anywhere on the planet with internet access and a webcam! (…and a guitar!)
Electric, Acoustic and Bass Guitar Lessons on Skype
Experienced and patient Guitar Teacher waiting for your call. Kieran Coughlan +44 7447 922605