I often see discussions about adults who have returned to playing after many years of not playing and I think about my own return to playing. I was surprised how quickly I lost my skill after college and when I returned to lessons in my late 40's I found that re-learning as an adult was very different from learning as a child. After playing for several years I was asked four years ago to go to music camp with some friends. I was nervous about my playing but said sure and off we went to Southern Oregon Chamber Music Workshop in Ashland. I met about sixty other adults of varying skill levels with a common interest in playing chamber music. The program at Ashland is structured to put students into groups, trios, quartets, etc. roughly based upon like skills with an assignment each day to select and perform a movement by the end of the day for all of the rest of the players. Professional level coaching is provided during the day.
As I stated above, I was terrified at performing but found that since everyone was in the same boat it would be fine. And it was. At the end of the week I realized that I had had a wonderful time, had met some great people and had received coaching comments that helped me zero in of weak playing areas. When I returned home I reflected on those comments and worked to strengthen those areas over the next twelve months. Each year that I have returned I found it easier to play the assignments, felt more self confident when performing, renewed friendships and found new areas of my playing to work on.
The point of this discussion is to encourage other adult players to find a similar workshop and to go. I guarantee that you will become a much better player and greatly expand the joy of making music.
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