Like all good Mormon families we want our son to play a musical instrument. The two normal choices for Mormon children are the piano or the violin. Since a piano is somewhat difficult to move, expensive, big and as we are gypsies for the foreseeable future we decided on the violin.
In June of this year I attended a "bluegrass jam". It's an informal gathering of bluegrass, Irish and old time music players. They get together on the 3rd Saturday of every month at the union hall next to the Thirroul train station and jam until everyone goes home, taking turns suggesting songs and tunes. My friend Peter, who has a mandolin but hadn't really learned how to play it, came with me. We arrived at 19:30. Everyone was so friendly and we listened and clapped and sang until it was 23:00. Banjos, mandolins, dobros, guitars and a double bass were the instruments in attendance. Most of the players brought and played more than one instrument. What a night!
I got home and decided that I wanted to play too. The search began. The Suzuki Method of teaching music is very popular here in Australia. I found some information online that discussed the advantages of a parent and child learning an instrument together as they can encourage each other and the child sees the parent struggling just like they are at learning. It's nice to know sometimes you are not alone. I found a teacher online and lo and behold she makes house calls. So convenient!
Ebay, violin websites, violin makers, Amazon.com, these became my daily searches. I started looking for local stores and asking advice of the teacher I had found. Boy howdy are there some crap violins out there! I was getting advice from all over, do this, don't do that, buy this, buy that...so much information. I stumbled upon a little music shop that sold mostly guitars and electric basses, but they had 3 violins hanging on the wall, and they were on sale. The shop keeper was very friendly but not very knowledgeable about violins. I went home and for the first time I was able to find the violin maker online. The websites I found called this violin the number 1 student violin in the world. I couldn't resist. I went in the next day and bought mine. We had to order Landry's as he didn't have a 1/4 size in stock.
I was excited when his came in. We now have matching violins, matching violin cases and we are learning together. Awesome! I have really enjoyed learning music again. I can read music better now than I ever have. I'm learning and discovering songs and how music works. I have gone back to the bluegrass jam each month. In July I played Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. It was a squeaky disaster but everyone cheered and clapped. I was in fiddle heaven. August found me playing Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. A beautiful song that I butchered but I am determined to play a song at each jam session. I was even able to pick up my friends mandolin, which is tuned exactly the same as a violin and play a tune.
The moral of my long-winded tale, you are never too old to learn. Don't be afraid, try something you have wanted to do all of your life. One caveat, make sure it has a positive effect on you and everyone around you. Face tattoos never helped anyone, just saying. Try learning something with your child, spouse or a good friend. They can give you support and encouragement when you need it and you them.
Happy hunting. :-)