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Letting ourselves ‘play’ as adults is just as important as children. So many stresses are faced by adults that children do not worry about! Financial responsibilities, congested traffic, work, deadlines, to-do lists, paperwork, hosting guests, family commitments, preparing meals, re-decorating the spare room… and it goes on.

But apart from the occasional sofa slump at the TV, ‘night off cooking’ take-away, and coffee shop cuppa to-go… are we looking after our own well-being and giving ourselves time to unwind, process, breathe and PLAY?

In music, the rests between the notes give significance to the notes heard, so there is not just a constant hummmmm of noise. We need a rest before we can hit the ‘play’ button again on ourselves too and by this I mean, actually PLAY!

Perhaps not racing a 3-year-old to the big slide in the park (although, kudos!) but really, playing for your enjoyment.

Play time- even as an adult

I don’t accept it when adults who say they wish they learned a musical instrument as a child imply that it’s not possible to learn now. Perhaps as a child, opportunities were not given to learn but now that you can make your own choices, what’s to stop you taking it up later in life?

We all have the same hours in the day. Working a challenging ‘top end job,’ doing the school run, walking the dog, hosting Sunday dinner, all viable reasons to be busy, busy. Yet you always wish you had taken piano/drum lessons.

How long, on average each day, do we spend watching TV/downloading/updating social media/online shopping/playing with new apps/shuffling music… 30 mins daily? Or more?

And do those activities really stretch our intelligence, co-ordination and memory within that time? Perhaps not always.

Have no regrets about something positive you can do about it now.

When people send their children to tap dancing lessons/karate/drama because they always wished they had gone as a child, I think, super, this generation have great potential with all the after school activities available to them but why don’t you yourself go now, as an adult? I am a firm believer it is still not too late to learn something new. I have more than one tale of elderly ladies who took up piano lessons in their eighties and showed excellent commitment.

Health authorities are now investing money in music resources to slow down the effects of Dementia because music and sounds trigger memories and help people to remember, make connections, feel good about themselves, uplifting their mood and filling in some blanks.

Should we be concerned we are not developing our own musical footprint now? Do we know ourselves enough to realise what excellent musicians exist are out there and have been ‘out there’ for some time that we have adopted a varied collection of our favourite songs through the decades? Or do we just auto-pilot drive, turning on the radio to whatever the DJ’s choice is from current charts? When did we last hear the songs our mother sang to lull us to sleep? Did we ever get round to learn to play our favourite song on a musical instrument? Did we ever learn the second verse of that song we rock at as we reach for our shampoo in the shower?

Are we giving ourselves the opportunities we as adults can avail of? Don’t feel guilty for requiring some ‘me’ time and allowing yourself the opportunity to develop a new hobby. It can bring therapy as much as many other positive factors.

On a related note, I am not a great knitter- as some rejected scarves and blankets given to my extended family will evidence. But I do try, and the process of learning such helped me to develop skills in a different hobby (some skills which also apply in music).

Similar to learning a musical instrument, I discovered the following through knitting:

  • A new way to have patience with myself (and knots!)
  • How to read and follow patterns,
  • The discipline of setting aside time to concentrate on something new, and practise it.
  • The effects of trying out different tools of trade (knitting needles/wool types in this instance).
  • Learning from mistakes without beating myself up.
  • Identifying that when I don’t practise, I will forget what I learned and slow myself down.

I also discovered how experts can make it look easier than it is for me to learn and that reinforces we all learn at different paces and that is ok!

It could be a very fluffy world if we are were all naturally brilliant knitters and I would be out of a job if we were all naturally brilliant pianists and drummers! I do encourage you, reader if you are contemplating music lessons as an adult, do NOT fear and do not hold yourself back. It can be scary learning something new but it is oh so rewarding. As Mrs Donnelly the 85 year-old piano beginner demonstrated successfully when she began to PLAY >

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