When adult students ask me if it’s too late to learn music, I love using myself as an example.
I did not play or read a note of music until I was nineteen. All through high school, I would watch musicians play, and think they lived in some tangent reality that was closed to me. Then, in April 1993, I did something on a whim. I decided I was going to learn. I checked out two books from the town library and learned to read music. Before I knew all the basics of notation I was composing short piano pieces and learning to play Beethoven. At first, it was all a distraction from my life, and then it became my life. I started taking college piano and music theory classes. I kept composing. Little by little I was inviting myself into that world I’d once thought I didn’t belong to. In less than two years I was teaching private piano lessons. I had no idea it would one day lead to a master’s degree, writing a symphony, and college theory teaching.
And here’s the best part of my story: I am no prodigy! I’m not some kind of ingenious fluke. I just came to music when I was ready. I wanted it to be my life, and I stood up one spring day and started on this journey. That journey is still going strong, and today, I’d like to share it with you!
Whether it’s Scott Joplin or Janis Joplin, Beethoven or Broadway, music is not some elitist puzzle, baffling to all but a gifted few. Music is for everyone, and understandable to anyone. Let’s break the myths and barriers surrounding music…welcome to Breaking Barlines!