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Old 05-15-2015, 03:43 PM
JRR JRR started this thread
 
Location: Middle Tennessee
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One of the things that I want to do once we have moved to our new retirement home, is to learn to play a musical instrument. I am still debating on which one I would want to attempt.

I was wondering if anyone has taken on that challenge in retirement and if so, which instrument, how do you like it and would you do it again.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:54 AM
 
Location: in the miseries
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I returned to playing an instrument when I neared retirement.

but I had a solid background in playing from lessons in my teenage years.

trumpet might be a good choice as there are lots of teachers for it.

and you can use a mute and spare the neighbors.
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Old 05-16-2015, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
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I think it depends on how you see yourself using that instrument. If you just want to play alone, for your own enjoyment, I'd suggest piano or guitar, celtic harp -- maybe a stringed instrument. If you're wanting to eventually join an ensemble of some type, then wind instruments become an option. I'm a French horn player primarily, and for me personally I don't get enjoyment from just playing on my own -- I need an ensemble to really enjoy it. Of course ensembles aren't hard to find. Most reasonably sized cities/towns have a community band or orchestra.
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Old 05-16-2015, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Bay Area, California
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I played flute thru high school and years ago returned to it and took more lessons and have been playing every Sunday in church. I also do the occasional wedding, etc. I just love it but I really need the piano accompaniment to sound complete.

So retirement for me is a total commitment to learning and rigorously practicing the piano. The progress is slow but the rewards are great. Finding the right teacher is crucial, someone who loves teaching adults. My teacher has lots of adult students, even an 82 year old retired judge.

Near my piano hangs a saying: "She believed she could do it, so she did!"
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Old 05-16-2015, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Near the In-n-Out
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Awesome! So good for your brain!! We can forge new neural pathways and wake up old ones.

I play multiple instruments. In theory piano is the easiest instrument to learn to play. There is no "technique" to make a note. Just press the key. You can pick up a decent electric keyboard cheap on craigslist. If you don't read music look on youtube or the internet for "easier" methods to learn. You don't have to read music to play an instrument.

Electric guitar is probably the easiest instruments to learn IMO. It's much easier to make notes than on an acoustic guitar. You don't have to know how to read music. You can start with power chords where you play only the top two or second and third strings with two fingers two frets apart. Move up and down with that same finger position on the first five frets and/or drop down to the second and third strings, and play a TON of songs. As you get more comfortable strumming you can start to learn basic open chords and bar chords. You'd be surprised how many songs are just three chords. It basically gets to a point it's what songs you want to learn.

You can pick up a cheap electric git and amp package very inexpensively just about anywhere. Guitar, small amp, cord, inexpensive chromatic tuner, and a couple picks will get you started. (The amp can be set for a low volume and a nice, clean tone. You don't have to go full distortion or anything. Lol!)

Pick it up and practice everyday to progress more quickly. Is there is a community college near you? A beginning class is always a good start to get a solid base. Youtube has teaching videos too. Some music stores have lesson packages as well. It may take a teacher or two to find one that works with your learning style. Find someone who will teach how to play the songs you want to learn, not full music theory, or songs you don't care about.

An added bonus to keyboard or electric guitar is you can use headphones if noise is an issue.

Ukulele (how fun!) or harmonica would be good choices as well for a first instrument.

It's slow going at first but it's like that with every new thing learned. Give yourself time to get better. You'll be surprised at a certain point things will just click and you'll be making music in no time!!

Last edited by Bunny and Duder; 05-16-2015 at 01:50 PM..
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRR View Post
I was wondering if anyone has taken on that challenge in retirement and if so, which instrument, how do you like it and would you do it again.
I've owned guitars since I was 14 but I never really got into it since most were very inexpensive instruments and very frustrating. Move ahead a few years to my 20's and my young wife and I would occasionally sing in our small church and at times I would attempt to accompany with an acoustic guitar. I was horrible at best but it was fun. During my military service, school and during a career I still didn't play much. However while working, I did pick up a couple of very nice acoustic guitars thinking that I would eventually get back into playing.

In retirement, and in the solitude of our small west Texas farm, I now have the time to play daily, which I do. My interests of course are no longer in the rock & roll sounds of my bell-bottomed youth but instead trying to play some of the new and the old country tunes which I find to be more suitable to acoustic guitar.

These days I also enjoy instilling the love of guitar sounds in my granddaughter who is coming along very nicely on a nice solid-body Schecter and an amplifier the size of a small refrigerator.

Good luck. It's a lot of fun and one is never to old to start learning something as enjoyable as music.

Last edited by High_Plains_Retired; 05-16-2015 at 07:50 PM..
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:27 PM
 
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If you like country music, the autoharp is very easy and fun. You can see and listen to several players on youtube, such as Will Smith, Harvey Reid, and JoAnn Smith. You don't have to read music to play. I would suggest getting a good diatonic harp, and definitely not one of those black things they played in elementary school! Those are only for simple strumming and not the kind of playing that is popular now.
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:47 PM
 
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Although I've owned several stringed instruments, e.g., violins, mandolins and even a banjo, I've never owned an autoharp. It brings to mind Maybelle Carter's The Wildwood Flower, one of the first tunes I learned many years ago on the guitar. (I'm listening to it as I write this.) That was probably on a $19.95 Sears Silvertone. I still have the scars.

Actually, right now I'm trying to learn a little mandolin as well but my old fingers are not as nimble as they used to be.
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:57 PM
 
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High Plains Retired:
I tried the mandolin also with the same results. That's when a friend turned me on to the autoharp. I actually hadn't payed much attention to how autoharp has developed into a bona fide instrument, but it's been great fun learning. I have a handmade diatonic harp by George Orthey and love it.
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:37 PM
 
12,571 posts, read 16,668,271 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpaint View Post
High Plains Retired:
I tried the mandolin also with the same results. That's when a friend turned me on to the autoharp. I actually hadn't payed much attention to how autoharp has developed into a bona fide instrument, but it's been great fun learning. I have a handmade diatonic harp by George Orthey and love it.
From everything I know about George Orthey autoharps, they are some of the best. I play mostly by ear so I should probably stick to my guitars. However, sometimes these new stringed sounds are intriguing. I recently sold my A-frame Ibanez mandolin and bought an F-body Kentucky mandolin so I am somewhat committed. If I work at it, I can play rhythm to most simpler tunes but, as to playing in a bluegrass show anytime soon, I am no doubt more optimistic than realistic.

My favorite player right now is a SDR-41 Sigma although I have a '79 Martin D35 (bought while I still working). I have several other lesser 6-stringed dreadnoughts and one Seagull 12-string as well. I only wish I had as much talent as I have musical instruments.
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