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Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
malc laney
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No previous ?

Post by malc laney » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:32 am

If someone with no musical playing experience took up guitar at say , 40+ could they get a result?
Perhaps a retired ballet dancer?

Pat Dodson
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Re: No previous ?

Post by Pat Dodson » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:10 am

malc laney wrote:If someone with no musical playing experience took up guitar at say , 40+ could they get a result?
Perhaps a retired ballet dancer?
Depends what's meant by "result" but through my tutor I'm aware of a few who reached middling grades.

As interesting I think is the question of whether someone of 40+, say a retired classical guitarist, could take up ballet and get a result. Anyone willing to give it a try? :wink:

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Post by Michael.N. » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:57 pm

It's quite possible that they could get to grade 8, perhaps even higher. I've heard it stated (from a few teachers) that if you go up a grade per year you are doing OK. Two grades per year and you are probably above the average. Someone who starts at say 42 could quite conceivably be grade 8 standard by the time they have reached 46 or 47 years old.
Unfortunately I'm a bit past it to take the ballet test. I'm disqualified.

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Paul Janssen
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Post by Paul Janssen » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:21 pm

I see absolutely no reason why someone in their 40's couldn't learn to play a musical instrument including classical guitar. This would be easier under the guidance of a good teacher. If someone was to do this they may like to consider the following points:

1. Be patient especially at first. None of us learned to walk, talk or read immediately. The same goes with learning a musical instrument. It takes time and requires baby steps.
2. Practice regularly. Practice is like brushing your teeth - it's much more effective to do a little every day than to save it all up for the weekend!!
3. Practice everything slowly. As strange as it may sound, the slower you practice the quicker you progress as you tend to make fewer mistakes and develop better habits when you play slowly.
4. Pay attention to your posture and position. This will help avoid injuries as well as reducing aches and pains when playing.
5. Enjoy the journey rather than just focussing on the destination.

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Post by Andrew Pohlman » Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:56 pm

From medical and pathology of aging perspectives, it is doable depending on your baseline. Any number of real life factors could make it difficult. Physical or neurological injuries to the hand or wrist. Rheumatoid arthritis is another possible issue. Even then, I have advanced arthritis in my left hand and I am still progressing as a classical guitarist! Having said that, I have played rock 'n roll semi-professionally for 30+ years, so it is different than starting from scratch.

But if you are free from injuries, and have managed to avoid other pathologies, dude, you can get there! I've seen it with several adult learners at the humble music school in my neighborhood. Piano, violin, guitar - there are many successful adult students I know personally!

Not only that, but adults actually have the maturity and discipline to practice! Please realize that there is no magic: all it takes is "time in job", i.e., practice, practice, and more practice. And I have said this many times in these forums: playing a musical instrument is the best brain exercise know to man! Have no fears! Just go for it!
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Re: No previous ?

Post by HNLim » Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:10 pm

malc laney wrote:If someone with no musical playing experience took up guitar at say , 40+ could they get a result?
Perhaps a retired ballet dancer?
My friend at age 65 took up classical guitar after paying me a visit.

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Post by bear » Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:57 pm

malc laney wrote:If someone with no musical playing experience took up guitar at say , 40+ could they get a result?
Perhaps a retired ballet dancer?
My wife was in her 60's she's better than me, but she has talent.
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Mike Atkinson
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Post by Mike Atkinson » Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:36 pm

Of course they could get a result.

The skills can be learned at any age, with appropriate effort. Perhaps the biggest challenge is the mindset of a 40+ year old. For many of us, somewhere between 4 and 40, we decide that learning isn't fun and exciting, but difficult and boring.

A corrollary, is the mind of a 40 + year old may have an unrealistic expectation of the appropriate result for the effort required.
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Post by MarkL » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:01 pm

What they're all trying to say is...

YES !!!

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Erik Zurcher
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Re: No previous ?

Post by Erik Zurcher » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:24 pm

malc laney wrote:If someone with no musical playing experience took up guitar at say , 40+ could they get a result?
Perhaps a retired ballet dancer?
Ballet dancers are notoriously dedicated, disciplined and self-critical. With good tuition I'd say he/she has every chance of becoming a fine guitarist.
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Rick Beauregard
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Post by Rick Beauregard » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:26 pm

A friend once said, in her 40's: "If I start graduate school now I won't get my PhD until age 50!"
My response: whether you do or not do, you will still be 50.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
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Re: No previous ?

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:53 pm

I'd say it can be done. I've been teaching my daughter. After 4 months she can play the Aguado's arpeggio study quite well. I am trying to get her to learn to sight read, but she is resistant to it. I don't think it would have taken her 4 months to do one study if she would let me teach her proper. She's kind of like the guy who learns to play one piece really well to impress people at parties. She is 31 now and was 30 when she started over Christmas. If she had waited until she was forty, I expect that the result would be the same. Just don't expect it to happen overnight.

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Re: No previous ?

Post by guitareleven » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:58 pm

malc laney wrote:If someone with no musical playing experience took up guitar at say , 40+ could they get a result?
Perhaps a retired ballet dancer?
A result, certainly, and, one that can redound to one's fulfillment as a continuing endeavor, if not one attaining to unreasonably lofty goals. It's a case of it being the travelling on the path, not the reaching of a preconceived "end", that constitutes the justification.
There is a book I have around here somewhere, with a prosaic title along the lines of "It's never too late" or some such (I'll try to find it) in which is recounted the experiences of someone who, after living well into middle age with no practical musical experience, decided to take up the cello. He got himself to the point where he was regularly playing in ensembles, and it was a defining satisfaction to his existence. The book was also a great read, as he was a very good writer.
By happenstance, many years ago when my wife and I were regularly playing on the streets of Boston, in amongst the crowd of people who had assembled one evening to listen and talk to us afterwards, there was an older gentleman who was carrying a cello case. After a bit of discussion, it suddenly clicked with the picture I'd seen on the cover, and I recognized that "Hey! You're the guy who wrote that book!". He was on his way to a rehearsal, thus confirming the sustained viability of the thesis of his account.

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