While returning home from teaching oboe lessons, I heard a great story on Weekend Edition about the struggles adult students face when learning an instrument. I must admit that I have fallen into some of the traps adult learners set for themselves while studying bass, which I started playing at age 21. For example, my brain may very well comprehend a concept, but often my muscle memory is not developed enough and my fingers simply cannot keep up the pace. I must admit this causes me much frustration, often to the point of being counterproductive. To refocus I take a brief pause, which usually involves sprawling out on the practice room piano bench, letting my limbs hang heavy, closing my eyes, and breathing deeply until my temperament has returned to its more natural predisposition.
Take a few minutes and listen to Never Too late To Learn An Instrument by clicking on the link, then select the Listen Now button. The NPR Media Player will open in a separate window.
Have you embarked on an craft later than the "normal" starting age? What challenges have you encountered? Whether a late learner or not, what do you do to combat frustration?