Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 13 total)
  • Author
  • #12802 Reply

    Chris Guleff

    When an adult takes up playing a string instrument it seems like such a major decision compared to a school aged student. When I took some experimental cello lessons a couple of years ago I was too self-conscious to practice when my roommates were home or when friends visited. One time they all began to comment that I had never played the cello for them — they even seemed to feel a little slighted! What reactions have some of you had?

    #13432 Reply


    I am happy to say that all of the reactions from my family and friends have been positive. I am 59 and just starting out. My husband has been especially supportive and encouraging. My friends are generally happy for me, but more on the amazed side I think. (You’re doing what?? Why would you want to do that??) I’ve even inspired one friend to re-learn the piano. My teacher teaches piano as well as violin and she is using the same teacher. I hope I will inspire others to follow their dreams. Just because we are adults doesn’t mean we don’t get to have fun too!

    #13861 Reply

    When I mentioned that I wanted to learn, my family just kind of rolled theirs eyes and smiled. I’ll show them!! 🙂

    #13879 Reply


    My family and friends are very supportive of me learning to play the fiddle. However, I play the cello, so the idea doesn’t seem so strange to them, I guess. I don’t play for or in front of anyone except I do practice when my immediate family is around. I used to be so shy that I wouldn’t even do that. So, I’m working on my confidence, in general.

    #13901 Reply

    Dianne Adkins

    Just a quick comment on this thread about what others say or think about our playing, and also what we are thinking ourselves. Of course, we can’t control the thoughts and words of others. We can only be examples of kindness and positivity, and make decisions about how we’ll react to the comments of others. That said, as musicians we often also hear a voice talking inside our heads, especially when we are performing for others. What does the voice say? “You can’t play this very well.” “Here comes the hard part. Watch out!” “You didn’t practice enough.” That inner voice can say a lot meaner things that effect our perceptions of how well we did, and how well we play in general.

    Aside from knowing you can change what that inner voice says, you have to override negative self thinking to positive thoughts. This actually does work, so put it into practice when the self doubt creeps in and makes you nervous or insecure. Over the years, I have dealt with my share of what I felt were performance failures, and anxious feelings about performing. But here is what I have come to realize and this has really helped in even the most serious performances.

    It’s not about you.

    Keep this in mind during your performance. It’s not about what you’re wearing, or what you look like, or even the few mistakes you’re bound to make in a live performance. It’s about bringing honor to the composer by doing your best. It’s about the beauty of the music and your privilege to bring it to the listener. You are just the story teller, but you probably did not write the story. So lose yourself in the music. There is no one there but you and Bach, or whatever composer, in a moment of time you get to relive and share. Pay attention to the music and give it all your heart. That will always be enough. Any negative chatter will disappear as long as you continuously return your mind to the music, and not on yourself.

    #13916 Reply


    When I worked up the nerve to tell friends I started playing my childhood violin, I was pleasantly surprised at how many people said they’d played an instrument, and are curious about playing again. Now I have people to play with!

    #13964 Reply


    Learning an instrument as an adult is one thing I do just for myself. It feeds my soul. I hope to be able to enjoy sharing my music at some time, but just feeding my soul, recharging is something I need to do. Grateful for the opportunity. Not worried about what others think or say. That ruins my enjoyment if I worry about it. I live alone, so no negative input except if my dogs tire of repetition and leave the room or bark when they don’t like a certain tune. Many have said it is something that they would like to do.

    #14007 Reply


    Maybe some pepole think it’s to late, but I believe it never is.

    #14009 Reply


    My husband doesn’t mind when I play when he’s home – I still prefer not to. I’m proficient in another instrument and become embarrassed over my violin skills, even though I know he couldn’t care less.

    #14235 Reply


    I find that when I tell people that I am learning the fiddle most people reply, Gee I wish I could learn an instrument. That is when I usually say why don’t you try and their response is that they are too old. NOT. I have talked a few people into coming to our slow jam session and learning with us but most don’t realize that there is a lot of hard work and practice to being able to sound good. They want to sound good right away without practicing or putting in the effort. Usually those people only last a couple of times and then quit coming. The rest of us continue to meet every Tuesday and have been playing now for about a year and a half. I must say that we have come a long way and are actually starting to sound pretty good (we started out pretty awful, ha ha). We always have FUN and that is the main point of the whole thing. Playing what we like and having fun. Being able to bounce ideas off of each other. Also by having a set day that we meet means I always manage to practice every day whereas before the group jams I would miss practice more frequently than I would like to admit. Having other adult learners in the group makes it fun.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 13 total)
Reply To: Reactions of family & friends as an Adult Learner
Your information: