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Learning to play a musical instrument after Retirement?
Old 07-29-2017, 11:35 PM   #1
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Learning to play a musical instrument after Retirement?

One of my projects after FIRE will be to have a go at learning to play the piano.

My wife took lessons as a child thru her mid teens and can play mostly Church hymns. When we married 36 years ago, the piano came with her, so i have a nice one to practice on.

I have some modest musical ability. I taught myself to play rhythm guitar poorly while attending college. I wasnt very good but I could play well enough so people could sing along as i played 3 chord country music. And I was in band from 7th grade to high school graduation.

All that said, what I would like know is if any of you took up a musical instrument once retired or otherwise later in life? If so, which one (s) and how is it going?

I typed this on my phone so pardon the inevitable typos.
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Old 07-30-2017, 12:12 AM   #2
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Listen , I think you should do it, If you turn out to be lousy, I'll practice my scream therapy, no one will notice.
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Old 07-30-2017, 12:41 AM   #3
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I am gping to do it. I would love to hear some success stories even if current ability is still limited but improving.

I would love to play like Charlie Rich someday. I really like,his still.
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Old 07-30-2017, 01:11 AM   #4
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I am gping to do it. I would love to hear some success stories even if current ability is still limited but improving.
F has begun playing the ukulele this year, just a couple of months ago I think. He has never played a stringed instrument before, so he decided to start with the ukulele; maybe he will move up to guitar after a little while. He is teaching himself with the help of youtube and the internet.

At first, he was not sure if his arthritis would prevent him from playing certain chord sequences. But now, he has played for a couple of months or so, and has mastered those challenges. He is also singing along with the songs. When he learns a new song, he plays it for me so I get to hear how he is doing. Honestly with some time and persistence, along with regular practice, he has become very good at even the most difficult of songs.
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Old 07-30-2017, 04:48 AM   #5
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I learnt piano for 6 or 7 years during my schooldays and did not particularly enjoy it, although I won a few prizes. In my 40s, I started asking flute lessons. I lasted about a year. I gave up when I felt ashamed to show up at a lesson without having practiced sufficiently. I was working very hard at that time and something had to give. Fortunately the flute was a rental. I haven't tried a new musical adventure since ER.
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Old 07-30-2017, 05:48 AM   #6
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F has begun playing the ukulele this year, just a couple of months ago I think. He has never played a stringed instrument before, so he decided to start with the ukulele; maybe he will move up to guitar after a little while. He is teaching himself with the help of youtube and the internet.

At first, he was not sure if his arthritis would prevent him from playing certain chord sequences. But now, he has played for a couple of months or so, and has mastered those challenges. He is also singing along with the songs. When he learns a new song, he plays it for me so I get to hear how
he is doing. Honestly with some time and persistence, along with regular practice, he has become very good at even the most difficult of songs.
Interesting! I tried the ukulele too, a few years ago, but didn't have "it".

I don't think music is my thing - even though I'd love to be able to play. Some of my wiring appears to be crossed.
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Old 07-30-2017, 08:31 AM   #7
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Much like you, I played Rhythm Guitar without much skill. I do have a decent foundation in Music Theory.

A neighbor was tossing out one of those Yamaha keyboards. This thing had a lot of tones and voices....an especially good Hammond B3 Organ sound.

I will say that it is difficult to think about the sharps and flats on a keyboard. On a guitar, they basically fall into place for you on the frets.

I'm staying in the key of C for now, just to get coordinated on the keyboard.
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Old 07-30-2017, 08:55 AM   #8
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F has begun playing the ukulele this year, just a couple of months ago I think. He has never played a stringed instrument before, so he decided to start with the ukulele; maybe he will move up to guitar after a little while. He is teaching himself with the help of youtube and the internet.

At first, he was not sure if his arthritis would prevent him from playing certain chord sequences. But now, he has played for a couple of months or so, and has mastered those challenges. He is also singing along with the songs. When he learns a new song, he plays it for me so I get to hear how he is doing. Honestly with some time and persistence, along with regular practice, he has become very good at even the most difficult of songs.
Another option is a tenor guitar for bigger sound but only 4 strings. Nick Reynolds of the Kingston Trio played one.

Cheers!
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Old 07-30-2017, 08:58 AM   #9
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Do it while you can...
Played the uke when I was 7, and the violin at age 12 (yuck), but over the years, even at the start of retirement, "played" guitar, with some success, keyboards, harmonica, ocarina, recorder and tin whistle.
Onset of peripheral neuropathy in hands and fingers, has now put all of that behind me, so am left with the harmonica, which is a bit noisy for DW.
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Old 07-30-2017, 09:24 AM   #10
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Do it while you can...
Played the uke when I was 7, and the violin at age 12 (yuck), but over the years, even at the start of retirement, "played" guitar, with some success, keyboards, harmonica, ocarina, recorder and tin whistle.
Onset of peripheral neuropathy in hands and fingers, has now put all of that behind me, so am left with the harmonica, which is a bit noisy for DW.
Maybe you could invent the electronic harmonica, and use with headphones. Maybe not be as profitable as a pet rock.

Have had a guitar for over 40 years, still can't play it worth a damn. I have gotten interested in dancing, seems I have talent for that, according to instructor and parntners.
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Old 07-30-2017, 09:46 AM   #11
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Whenever I hear about the ukulele i think of this fellow
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Old 07-30-2017, 09:58 AM   #12
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I took up playing the banjo a year ago. I have absolutely no talent for music, and I don't have a lot of time for practice. I have been mostly learning on my own (through a great book by Janet Davis) and did take about 4 months of lessons from an instructor who didn't suit me.
I'm not very good, mostly because of the lack of practice, but I am having a lot of fun with it.
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Old 07-30-2017, 10:40 AM   #13
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Whenever I hear about the ukulele i think of this fellow
Me too. Braddah Iz was one of the greats. My niece used this song as her entrance music for her wedding a few weeks ago. It was in part a tribute to her late father, who spent a significant part of his late teens in Hawaii. (My wife was born in Honolulu hospital - the officers serving under her father hoisted a pink diaper on the ship's mast - but he was transferred when she was only six months old.) But it's also a beautiful song that just makes you feel good to be alive.
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Old 07-30-2017, 11:00 AM   #14
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I grew up in Hawaii, so have heard plenty of that sort of music and love it.

But amazingly, the ukulele's potential in a wide variety of musical styles goes far beyond what most people realize. F's rendition of "St. James Infirmary" is enough to bring tears to anyone's eyes! He is a native New Orleanian, born in the heart of Bourbon St., and blues and jazz seem to be built in to his psyche somehow. It's amazing to see this talent emerge because the only instrument he ever played before, was drums.

OK, he's a fascinating man in so many ways. I'll stop gushing now.
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Old 07-30-2017, 11:05 AM   #15
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Whenever I hear about the ukulele i think of this fellow ... Israel Kamakawiwo'ole 'Over The Rainbow' & 'What A Wonderful World' 1993
That's "nice", but in terms of the uke, it's just very simple strumming. Here's who I think of when I hear "ukulele" - Jake Shimabukuro. This guy just tears it up, and gets an unbelievable amount of music and expression/emotion out of those little four strings. Saw him in concert a few years back - one uke, one tuning, no effects, and he keeps you mesmerized for the entire show - now that takes some real talent. And I know people who work backstage, and they said he is a super-nice guy too.



To the OP - I play keyboards, know a few guitar chords, and mess around with a bunch of instruments for fun (some I can only play one or two little phrases on). Only had a few lessons, never was very serious, garage band high school rock was as far as I got, but I can play some decent blues/boogie on keys, and really practiced gun-fire-fast blues runs just to be able to show off, and it's just FUN. I can still do those.

Thought I'd get more serious when I retired, but I really didn't. Until about 8 months ago, I saw a youtube of someone playing Bach's BVW857, Prelude in Fminor, from WTC Book One on a home made pipe organ, and it looked challenging but maybe do-able for me. I got the sheet music, and forced myself to learn bass cleff (I was a treble clef and chord with written root bass line player at best - like C7 - G - G/F G/E G/D C for a descending bass line). It was really hard to get my head around shifting the notes by two places for the bass, and Bach does all sorts of moving counter up/down in the right/left hands, and wrapping around 'inside'. It took me months, and I still can't really get through w/o a hesitation somewhere, but I'm going to keep working at it. And I'm only up to the first page of the Prelude... it's really hard for me, but it's fun.


That, and trying to get "Green Onions" - that's one of those songs that is so basically simple, that you have to get every detail just right, or it sounds awful. It is simple, and yet extremely complex in the details, which make a night/day difference.

So just try it, keep working at it, have fun!

-ERD50
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Old 07-30-2017, 11:13 AM   #16
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yep...bought a banjo....bought a mandolin...a few guitars (12 STRING) all are way different than a 6 string acoustic guitar. for sale: banjo, mandolin, 12 string guitar, dulcimore

that leaves me with my old Taylor 6 string and new Taylor 12 string ( and 2 guitars stowed at my folks place in NC)
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Old 07-30-2017, 11:23 AM   #17
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Another option is a tenor guitar for bigger sound but only 4 strings. Nick Reynolds of the Kingston Trio played one.

Cheers!
Right now he has both tenor and baritone ukuleles, and they sound pretty nice.

What amazes me, is that it turns out that he has a pretty good voice, too. When he serenades me, his voice is perfectly on key and I really enjoy listening to him.

At first, he focused on his left hand and the chords so much, because he was SO sure he could never do that part because of his arthritis. Anyway, he's great at that by now. Lately he has been working on what his right hand is doing, and he is developing some nice patterns there too. Also, there is a fine balance between the ukulele accompanying his singing, or his singing accompanying the ukulele, and he is working that out better these days.
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Old 07-30-2017, 11:28 AM   #18
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This is not him, but I was pleased to discover just now that somebody else has tried St. James Infirmary on the baritone ukulele! Neither of us noticed this before, but just now I came across it. F does it better, with a much, much better right hand pattern and more audience engagement, but I liked this one too.

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Old 07-30-2017, 11:30 AM   #19
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That's "nice", but in terms of the uke, it's just very simple strumming. Here's who I think of when I hear "ukulele" - Jake Shimabukuro. This guy just tears it up, and gets an unbelievable amount of music and expression/emotion out of those little four strings.
-ERD50
Glad you think he is "nice", you believe your guy is nicer. I never heard of your guy. Your guy might tear it up my guy tears me up. You also implied he has real talent, so my guy is a bum. I think this was a left handed compliment.
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Old 07-30-2017, 12:51 PM   #20
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Glad you think he is "nice", you believe your guy is nicer. I never heard of your guy. Your guy might tear it up my guy tears me up. You also implied he has real talent, so my guy is a bum. I think this was a left handed compliment.
Nah, that's not what I meant. It's all good. First off, it's not a competition. But in terms of "ukulele", Jake's playing is at a much higher level that what Israel was doing in that video. I don't think any uke player, or any musician would deny that. And when I say "nice", it's a compliment - that is exactly what Israel was going for in that song, and he nailed it. It's not a blues song, it's not a lament, it is..."nice", very nicely done, very well done. It's awesome in fact (well IMO). That's a talent for sure.

By that measure (not that it matters), I would not consider Jake's performance in that video to be "nicer" than Israel's. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is not a "nice" song, it's 'deeper' (not better/worse, just different).

No, your guy is not a bum, he's a great performer - but musicians could objectively state that if they wanted a video to demonstrate uke skills, different fingerings, chord progressions, etc, Jake's would be it. From those two videos, they have different talents. I would not say one is more talented than the other, and it doesn't matter. If it moves you, it moves you. That is talent.

I like 'em both.

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