Learning to be great

Every great musician had that moment when they picked up their first instrument and thought, “Now what?”

And that could happen to someone at any age, whether it’s the first instrument picked up or the latest. Getting started is the beginning of an adventure. Is it an adventure you’ve ever sought out? Well, here are a few interesting tidbits that might inspire you!

Child prodigies. We’ve all heard of musical prodigies like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who debuted in 1756 at the age of four. In 1810, Frédéric Chopin composed his first piece at just seven years of age.

But there are modern prodigies, too. The cellist Yo-Yo Ma has become a household name, beginning his performance career before his fifth birthday. Martha Argerich made her orchestral debut at the age of eight. Also at age eight, Kit Armstrong made his concerto debut in 1992.

Recognizing potential. Prodigies are few and far between, but many more individuals are musically gifted. People who are musically gifted are more likely to notice notes that are out of tune or off tempo. They also may be really good at remembering melodies, or even tend to hum to themselves a lot. In children, you might notice they have a rhythmic way of moving; perhaps they naturally tap their toes in time to songs.

It’s never too late to start. In the end, it’s about enjoying yourself, whether that means listening, playing, or both. If you have an interest in learning to play, here are a few instruments recommended for adults who are just starting out, including seniors:

  • Harmonica – lightweight and easy to learn.
  • Ukelele – a cheerful instrument easy to carry around. Good for those with small hands, too.
  • Guitar – because you’re never too old to look cool.
  • Bongos and other drums – just plain fun. Can be simple and easy, or more complex for those ready for a challenge.

It’s true that not every instrument will be ideal for you – but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Just check out how this pianist has found a creative solution so he can play a composition written by someone with much larger hands.