At the Life Care Center of Columbia, a Columbia nursing home, a 100-year-old woman has been putting on impromptu piano shows for the residents living there. Even after Rosalind Gardner’s husband died in 1959 after 19 years of marriage, she never stopped playing. Instead, she joined a band, her daughter said. Now crowds gather at the nursing home each time she sits at the piano to play. (read more)
This is a memorable example of being able to enjoy the piano later in life. Most of us normally think about piano in the context of our youth, or as young adults trying a new thing. But put into the context of a 100-year life span, it feels like it is virtually never too late to learn to play the piano.
Some of us at 30, 40, or older feel like we have missed the boat on being a musician, although we might fantasize about it from time to time. We discourage ourselves by thinking that it’s too late for us, and we should have started earlier in life to be able to enjoy the instrument. The sad reality is that we end up talking ourselves out of something that, 10 or 20 years later, we could really enjoy.
Many activities become prohibited by aging, but piano is not one of them. As long as we can still move our fingers we can enjoy making music at the piano – which for most of us will be almost all of our lives. Not only that, but being able to play piano enhances the lives of those around us. Rosalind Gardner plays for cancer patients to lift there spirits. What a beautiful way to have an impact on others. The social aspect of music can also be a great benefit later in life. Rosalind was able to join a band after her husband passed and have the community and support of a new network of friends.
We start a lot of adult beginners at the Music Junction, so we can verify that it is possible to become a pianist as an adult. An adult beginner that commits to regular weekly piano lessons will see leaps and bounds of progress after one year. A good 3-year commitment will see you through to an intermediate level, and 5-7 years of study or more will put an impressive repertoire into your fingers. But the week to week process itself is also an enriching experience, and for some adults it is the primary artistic outlet in their lives. Enjoying the process is important, but also is appreciating the future you are creating for yourself, because you will have the rest of your life to enjoy the skills you are building now.
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