About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Am I too old to join a band?

Music Monday – A New Beginning!

A new semester of music is starting and I feel like I’m a kid back in school. It has been a few years since I had to think about the start of a new school year for myself. There were always mixed emotions. Excitement for seeing friends I hadn’t seen in a while, excitement about new classes. The mixed emotions part came as I stressed about grades and taking tests. I haven’t had to take a final exam in decades but I still get a knot in my stomach when I see the back to school sales every year. I have school aged kids so I’m not so removed yet from the annual cycle and I still get the same excitement and dread when their school year starts. And NOW I’m starting a new semester of school!?

Starting in the New Horizons Band is different though. It is like going to high school the first day and finding out your schedule includes just gym, art or other fun classes. There are no final exams and your grade is based on… well there is no grades. It is just an opportunity to learn a subject without any of the associated negative stress.

I can imagine that learning a new instrument could be a little stressful for some people, but for me it was always exciting to try to learn to make music. Several years ago when my kids were in elementary school they had to learn the recorder. I thought I could do that so I bought a book and learned with them. What fun! A band instrument may be a little more intimidating, it often has a few more parts to it and can cost more which makes me think it must be more difficult. But in some ways it can be easier to gain a basic level of competence because most band instruments have readily available teachers, books and schools that can help you get started. And in this computer age, you don’t even need that because there are hundreds of videos online that will teach you all the basics if you want. I think I am still a little “old school” though because I prefer to learn from real people that I can interact with. I play a saxophone that I bought back in 1984. I’ve taken a few lessons over the years but when I started playing it again in the NHB after almost 30 years away, it took a little while to relearn all the fingerings. I started last spring and I can remember trying to relearn just 2-3 notes a day for a couple weeks before class started. Even today, a year later, I am still adding some alternate fingerings to my playing skill set. I am mostly learning from the people around me. It is keeping me sharp. That is what is truly amazing and fun about NHB. I get to learn, have fun playing music with a really nice group of people and keep my mind active learning something that I enjoy. And there are no tests!

The new semester for the NHB at Michigan State University Community Music School starts January 22, 2018 and anyone is welcome. If you are not sure about an instrument or your playing skill, come visit during a class and talk with us. You can also contact me directly at zarkadan@gmail.com if you would like my opinions about the class or contact the Community Music School for info about classes. Bring your instrument if you want to try playing along with the NHB. The semester starts January 22, but you can visit any time during the semester. See the flyer for class times.

Related Articles:
Music Monday http:/music-monday.html
MSU Community Music School http:/msu-community-music-school.html
At one time, everyone was a beginner http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2018/01/music-monday-at-one-time-everyone-was.html

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