Age Does not Affect Learning Ability with Music
Age Does not Affect Learning Ability with Music
Q: A few days ago I ran into your books via Amazon reader feedback. I am 44, just starting with music (playing the electric guitar, reading, ear training) and struggling my ass off at Music School, where everybody is 18 to 22 years old, except the instructors, at 28 to 32 years of age. Hell, they could ALL be my children!
Well, so I saw the light late, perhaps I am slower, blinder and more stubborn than others, but I finally recognized (after a lot of self doubt) that I am not an Economist so here I am studying music.
Weeeell, the reason I’m writing you is to say ‘thanks for existing’ and for writing all those wonderful books of yours, which the magic of Amazon is delivering to my doorstep in Buenos Aires. The love for music and for teaching is apparent in every sentence you write.
You see, Argentina being one of those oral-tradition societies that don’t really believe in books as applied to learning, all the stuff said in class is oral, write-it down in your notebook and then go home and practice. So I go home and try to practice, and miss not having my teacher next to me, because I sort of feel lost, trying to remember everything that was said in class but I couldn’t jot down because I had a guitar in my hands, never mind that my brain seizes because even though it’s beginner level, the guitar class is truly challenging for me.
Now you come along, with your books, and work-books, and CDs, and midi-files, and for the first time I now get the feeling I can really do this, because I have all the material I need at home, as books, CDs, midi files from muse-eek, etc, that I can work at my own pace and not get stuck and de-motivated. Mostly I have been a self-learner all my life, so your books come hand-in-glove for my needs. :-)
Oh, and I do have one question for you. As an ex-glider flight instructor, we were all aware that learning speed decreased linearly with age. As such that we had a golden rule for all normally-abled students, that required a minimum number of instructor-accompanied flight equal to the student’s age plus 10 before the student was allowed to fly solo. The question then is: Is there any data on how music learning times are affected by age? Sort of like languages take longer to learn as you get older (and music is a language).
PS: If I can pay you back with just two ideas… :-)
- 1. Get your stuff translated into spanish, that’s a big market, and many other languages as well. Surely the text is easy as pie to translate, and you could get some languages grad students at Princeton to help-out.
- 2. How about some really simple software to track ear-training progress? (perhaps there’s a pattern as to which exercises you hit and which you miss, so the software can play the ones you miss more often, and also tell you via a histogram chart how your doing. Again you could get computer science students to help-out.
A Nice to hear from you and thanks for your kind words. I’m glad the books are helping you because you are exactly the type of person I wrote these books for. Mentally it has been shown through studies that a person does not learn less efficiently as they age. Of course physically people do develop arthritis and other ailments but the mind works just fine. I think one reason people feel that it’s harder to learn as they get older is that they have preconceived ideas about what they are learning or they have to unlearn bad habits before learning the correct ones. Because of this learning can be more time consuming but this just takes dedication and persistence to overcome this hurdle. You should read Eric Kandel and Larry Squire’s book ‘Memory: From Mind to Molecules.’ This book really goes to the heart of how we learn and is important to help you understand how to improve quicker with your music studies. I’ve taught and studied this way my whole life and it’s great to have a Nobel Prize winner confirm what I’ve noticed in myself and my students. Link below for book. http://www.amazon.com/Memory-From-Molecules-Larry-Squire/dp/0981519415/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356686981&sr=8-1&keywords=Eric+Kandel+and+Larry+Squire%27s+book+%27Memory%3A+From+Mind+to+Molecules
Thanks also for your suggestions. I thought of both but haven’t acted on either yet.
It is also recommended that you read Bruce Arnold’s Blog at his artist site. It contains more discussion of the musical topics found in these FAQs as well as other subjects of interest. You will also find the “Music Education Genealogy Chart” located here which shows you the historic significance of the music education products found on the Muse Eek Publishing Company Website.