Never Too Late

I started learning B♭ clarinet in fifth grade. I hated it. I wanted a trumpet, but my folks had a problem with the volume. Anyway, it's hard to learn music when you dislike the sounds you're making, so I gave up on written music. Well, the joke was on Mom and Dad when I started playing electric guitar. Volume... hoo-boy.

Fast-forward to the late eighties. I'd been playing in bands for a decade now and still musically illiterate. I was in a pick-up group, rehearsing for a show. I was teaching a part to the saxophone player. We were slogging through it, note by note, when suddenly the sax player excused himself and went out to his car. "I'll be right back", he said. He returned with a music notebook and a pencil. He scribbled out the notes, played 'em back, and we were good to go. Wow! I was so impressed. The next day I went to the library and checked out a book about reading and writing music.

I've read about people who learned to read and write, or picked up a language later in life. They may never be as facile as those who learned as kids, but you can still learn. I can look at a written page and work out the notes and time. I can follow along and keep my place in the music, but it's unlikely I'll ever be able to sight read. I'm okay with that because even so, I can figure things out and also write charts for good players to do my songs.

Surprise! I'm not gonna tell you to go out and learn to read music. I'll just say that it's never too late to learn something new. In fact, it's never too late to do anything. Until the day your heart stops beating, you are on the road to the best you can be. Trust yourself, follow that road, and don't be afraid. Life is a one way trip, so make the best of it. Take a chance, go for it, feel the wind on your face as you crest that hill at a hundred miles an hour. 

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