I'm a comeback player. I've been at it since dec '07. Major embouchure change in Jul '08. My playing is far better now than it was in school, when I was actually pretty lousy. I have private instruction and practice my assigned routine daily. I started this to just get good enough, but I enjoy it. I have every intention of mastering the instrument and becoming a "virtuoso." Maybe i'll miss the mark, but it won't be for a lack of will or training.
I started playing again at 26, not all that old. I have a long life ahead of me and tens of thousands more hours of practice and improving before I die.
Let's face it, if you are older, with no serious, previous playing connections, your chance of reentry is about zero. There may be exceptions to the rule, I am not aware of any however.
Basically, who cares? The point of returning to the instrument is not to put Hakan Hardenberger out of work. It is to enrich your own life and that of those around you. That can be accomplished with a modest investment in time and dedication. If one has the time and opportunity to get REALLY serious, more magic can happen regardless of the talent base!
I won't get involved in a what if discussion. There is enough real life stuff going on that deserves attention.
Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
My point is, we shouldn't assume we understand something as complex as brain function based on mere anecdotes and intuition.
I would argue further that it wasn't until the 20th century when working adults even had enough leisure time to undertake serious musical pursuits.
How about this ....if one practices as if he/she were going to be a virtuoso would not that trumpet player become a better than average player I mean really worked hard at it ? ? Anthony
I just hate the idea of late starters, particularly those who began in their 50s or 60s, to relegate themselves and say to themselves that they will never be great, 0.5% top players. There is no reason this should be true! Why should this not be true?
I saw this with language when I was in Peace Corps. The older folks convinced themselves they couldn't achieve fluency and the teachers reinforced that notion. But those who could cast aside the naysayers did achieve fluency! As did I, in two languages, over the course of two years and I was an adult (albeit just out of college)!
Last edited by progmac; 09-23-2009 at 01:46 PM.
I remember reading an interview with Andrew Balio where he said he quit for four years after high school, and he's been pretty successful since. My teacher from my masters quit for awhile in his 20's, Mendez didn't play for a long time after an accident, I had a long time off due to health. I think most people can play to their previous level, and keep improving after those fairly short layoffs. For longer breaks, maybe the biggest obstacle is having the environment to really focus and dedicate yourself to being a great trumpet players. Most of those "virtuosos" spent their youth immersed in the trumpet, working with master teachers, for several years. I think it would be pretty hard to do that later in life, with family, kids, job, mortgage, etc. Maybe it's not impossible, if that amazing talent is really in there, but I think it's pretty unlikely. It IS possilble to become a good enough player to enjoy playing music on the trumpet, and that's probably more important anyway.
Comebackers, "particularly those who began in their 50's or 60's", usually...
A. ...have mortgage payments, kids in college, families to support, etc. etc. This reduces the amount of available practice time. It also reduces the amount of money available for equipment, lessons, travel, etc.
B. ...already have careers that they have invested years in. Most of us (but not all) look at A above, and consider the risk of starting a new career in music. If we do not succeed, we lose the house??? How often over the years I have read threads on Trumpet Master about how low the pay for performing musicians is, especially the lesser known ones just starting out.
C. ...are very health conscious, or have (as I do) health issues that need to be watched closely. Is it really a good idea for a 50 year old to start a new career that basically requires evening/nightime hours, a lot of travel, enviroments that may not be really healthy? (thinking about the "smoke filled bar" image here). Some would say yes, some would say no.
I could go on, but I hope you understand what I am trying to say.
but for myself, and the "comebackers" that I know personally (on various instruments), it is not about being a "great, 0.5% top players". It is about being the best player we can possibly be. I and the people thta I play with are the harshest critics of our own music. I can not count that times that I have walked away from a solo very unhappy about how I played, while members of the audience are gushing about how good it was.
I do not personally know a comebacker that is interesting in going pro, although several are good enough. And several play 3 or 4 non-paying performances a week (most at churches).
Let's see...I had a point when I started, where did it go?
Most of the comeback type players I play with do not hold this as a goal. And that's fine! But some of the comments about people not being able to learn past the age of 4 suggest that it is a lost cause to seek virtuosity -- but I see no reason why this should be the case.
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