Any Boglehead musicians out there?

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Jazztonight
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Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by Jazztonight »

Calling all Bogleheads who are serious amateur or professional musicians!

The backstory: I've been a musician my entire life, studied privately on a number of instruments (guitar, piano, and later saxophone), and was a bandleader playing for events (e.g. weddings) for over 15 years (that was not my primary profession or means of making a living).

When I was 55 I semi-retired and went back to college for a BA in Music Composition. I've composed a lot of stuff along the way.

When I retired at 66 I took up the flute as a "retirement project" and joined a community concert band. Just before the pandemic began, I switched to the trombone, and now play in a concert band that started up again a few months ago. I'm the music director and piano accompanist for a jazz/pop vocalist. We entertain regularly at retirement facilities and House Concerts.

Music is, I've read, one of several activities that keep our mind and ourselves going (foreign language study and physical activity are others). I practice 1+ hours every day.

So I'm curious. Who else plays, studies, practices, and works on their musical skills?
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
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JupiterJones
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by JupiterJones »

[raises hand] Me!

I went to a music college right out of high school, dropped out, moved to Nashville, and worked as a professional musician for several years. Mostly touring gigs for various major-label artists. Even at that level, it wasn't the most lucrative endeavor in the world, so I eventually shifted gears into a different career.

But I've kept my toe in the musical waters. In fact my day gig allows me to "be my own patron" and get more into things like jazz and other areas where the artistic/creative reward is high, even if the monetary reward isn't. It's actually nice to free music from the responsibility of having to pay the bills.

I did go on to get a few degrees in the tech realm, but never did finish that music degree, which sometimes gnaws at me. How nice that you were able to get yours... maybe one day I'll be in a position to do the same.
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by fposte »

On the highly amateur end, but yes. I sang in choruses and choirs for years, and returned for a few years before work got too pressured in the last decade or so. A friend who plays with a tango orchestra is nudging me to pick up my old guitar, which I've done a bit, but what I'm really enjoying is learning the recorder. I had a brief fling with the trumpet in childhood but was very young a lover of early music, and the recorder is wonderful for the affordability of pretty decent instruments. I play with 8notes.com a lot, and I'm looking forward to finishing one last bit of work at the end of this month so I can find the time to practice the guitar as well as the recorder.
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by Jazztonight »

JupiterJones wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 2:10 pm [raises hand] Me!

I went to a music college right out of high school, dropped out, moved to Nashville, and worked as a professional musician for several years. Mostly touring gigs for various major-label artists. Even at that level, it wasn't the most lucrative endeavor in the world, so I eventually shifted gears into a different career.

But I've kept my toe in the musical waters. In fact my day gig allows me to "be my own patron" and get more into things like jazz and other areas where the artistic/creative reward is high, even if the monetary reward isn't. It's actually nice to free music from the responsibility of having to pay the bills.
Amen to that! Being an event band leader was quite stressful; it was a serious business that required capital, a website, a 2nd phone number, and a serious "bench" of competent musicians. But we did okay, and the younger musicians I utilized liked the money these gigs paid. They each owned a tux, which gives you an idea of what we were dealing with.
I did go on to get a few degrees in the tech realm, but never did finish that music degree, which sometimes gnaws at me. How nice that you were able to get yours... maybe one day I'll be in a position to do the same.
Funny. Decades of music theory in private lessons were covered in the first two weeks of music school. I couldn't believe it, and non-musicians did not understand that--they thought as a "musician" I'd have a big head start. Yeah. Two weeks. Most of the young people in school were better musicians than I was. But I had the people and organization skills of being in my 50s, and was shocked to see some of them drop out the first year because they were not mature enough or too stretched to do the work.

You are a seasoned musician! If you're motivated the way you seem to be, maybe you'll finish up your music degree if it's important to you. It was challenging because I worked hard. I too have other degrees, and this one was the most rewarding.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
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ResearchMed
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

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Jazztonight wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 1:46 pm Calling all Bogleheads who are serious amateur or professional musicians!

The backstory: I've been a musician my entire life, studied privately on a number of instruments (guitar, piano, and later saxophone), and was a bandleader playing for events (e.g. weddings) for over 15 years (that was not my primary profession or means of making a living).

When I was 55 I semi-retired and went back to college for a BA in Music Composition. I've composed a lot of stuff along the way.

When I retired at 66 I took up the flute as a "retirement project" and joined a community concert band. Just before the pandemic began, I switched to the trombone, and now play in a concert band that started up again a few months ago. I'm the music director and piano accompanist for a jazz/pop vocalist. We entertain regularly at retirement facilities and House Concerts.

Music is, I've read, one of several activities that keep our mind and ourselves going (foreign language study and physical activity are others). I practice 1+ hours every day.

So I'm curious. Who else plays, studies, practices, and works on their musical skills?

Raising two hands here!

"Back in the day", DH and I (separately) each studied/enjoyed music. He took piano lessons, and his instructor had two Steinway grand pianos in his home studio (!). His instructor played "the orchestra" part to DH's concerto part.

I enjoyed flute, but playing in high school required being in the marching band, which I absolutely hated. DH gave me a few years of private flute lessons quite some time ago. When I told the instructor that I was "too old for exercises, and I wanted to play *music*", she retaliated :wink: by finding some remarkably tricky "real music" for me. Fair enough! We sometimes played duets. I had been thinking of doing more of that.

DH and I have occasionally played duets, but they are from sheet music that I'll characterize as "Duets for Young Beginners", as that's our current level.

About 15 years ago, we took up ballroom dance, which started as "we'll just take a couple of lessons so we know 'how to dance' ". We immediately fell in love with it, plus it was incredible exercise. We even competed a few times, in what I'll characterize as "Beginner Geezer Category".
I finally even got one of those "sparkly ballroom dance gowns", although I found a rather subdued one.
And then I broke my foot (warming up for a competition *at* the competition). Huge disappointment: It never healed properly. DH continued to compete a bit with one of our instructors, but we missed the dancing together.

So still wanting to enjoy music more actively, a few years ago, and by then approximately mid 70's, we started taking Opera lessons. There is a top music conservatory in our area, and much to our surprise, it turned out that they have a "continuing education" type of program. Our lessons are mostly in Italian, as that's the type of opera that we most enjoy, so the lessons also include help with pronunciation, which isn't always easy.
Then... Covid.
The conservatory pretty quickly got most of their programs online with some special software. Zoom has too much of a lag for any type of accompaniment to work well, and the quality of our voices wasn't quite good enough for our instructor to hear well. The software and special equipment helped a lot with both issues. They've recently re-opened to "in person", but we are still online, given that it's worked so well. (Not sure that would have been the case if we hadn't already gotten started and also had a good rapport with the instructor.)

We visited dear friends who are Italian shortly before Covid. We were thrilled - and very surprised - that they could actually understand what we were singing - without already being familiar with the lyrics - if we repeated some sections a couple of times. That was a good sanity check on how we were doing with the language.

We are glad that we didn't yet downsize from a single family home. Some of the practicing is... loud. A big goal of an opera diva is to have one's voice project *over* a full orchestra, and across a large opera house. Shared walls probably wouldn't be ideal for that.

Our progress is slow, but we are thoroughly enjoying it!
And between the various lessons, we managed to add some years of extra vigorous exercise and foreign language practice to the ongoing music. The dancing was probably the most advantageous health-wise; the exercise was often intense. We really miss that, a lot.

RM
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by GibsonL6s »

Amateur here. I played in a garage band in high school (late 70s). The other members of the band tried to have musical career with varying success until getting real jobs. In my 50s I started guitar lessons again and wanted to try to learn theory and to read music and maybe play some jazz. I ended up not having the patience to learn to read as was always an ear player and also realized I did not really like much jazz. The lessons did help me get better at the styles of music I do like which is blues and rock. I ultimately stopped the lessons as I really don't want to be in a Dad rock band, but still play one to four hours a week for fun. I view music as one of the hobbies we can can to later in life. My dad played clarinet into his 80s.

Great thread, thanks
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

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[My hand raised] :thumbsup

I played violin for 10 years as a kid -- age 9-19. Took private lessons for 9 of those years. I was good, but only in the middle of the pack of a good college orchestra's 1st violin section. After sophomore year of college, I stopped playing because I had no time to practice. [I was at MIT.] And then the rest of life got in the way. Work, marriage, kids, etc. I didn't play for 40 years!

I retired at 57. I still didn't drag out my violin, which had been gathering dust under my bed for those 40 years. I joined an OLLI [Osher Lifelong Learning Institute] program at Cal State Fullerton, which has "classes" for retirees but with no tests and no homework. One of those classes was a string ensemble. It took me a year to get around to it, but I finally went.

I still remembered everything about playing in my head. But I couldn't bow an open string without hitting another string! All of my muscle memory was gone! It took me 6 months to get it back. Even today, I don't play as well technically as I did when I was 17. There is no substitute for the coordination of youth!

But I enjoy playing so much more than I did when I was a kid. Practicing then was a chore. Today I enjoy practicing. And if I don't feel like it for a day or two, I skip it.

I started playing with string quartets, local college orchestras, a community orchestra, and some bands. [Not all at the same time!] The leader of the first band I joined wanted me to sing lead on the songs I suggested! Uh-oh! That could be embarrassing. So I started voice lessons! Took private voice lessons for 8 years [until Covid].

Now I'm starting to write songs. [Only 2 so far.] And I'm the instructor at that OLLI string ensemble class.

I still have the violin my parents bought for $30 when I was 9 years old. But I got tired of the tinny E string and sounding worse than the other violins, so I bought a new violin for $45k in 2017. I still hear lots of violinists [admittedly better than me] with better instruments, but at least mine is not the worst now.

Rediscovering music at age 58 has changed my life! Thanks for this thread, Jazztonight.
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fposte wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 2:38 pm On the highly amateur end, but yes. I sang in choruses and choirs for years, and returned for a few years before work got too pressured in the last decade or so.
Singing in a choir or chorus is a great way for many people to get back into music. There's always room for another voice.
A friend who plays with a tango orchestra is nudging me to pick up my old guitar, which I've done a bit, but what I'm really enjoying is learning the recorder.
Sounds like you're a triple threat!
I had a brief fling with the trumpet in childhood but was very young a lover of early music, and the recorder is wonderful for the affordability of pretty decent instruments.
How wonderful to fall in love with early music, and of course the recorder is the perfect instrument.
I play with 8notes.com a lot, and I'm looking forward to finishing one last bit of work at the end of this month so I can find the time to practice the guitar as well as the recorder.
It's not an all-or-nothing-at-all thing. Play a few minutes a day, even. It takes a while to get your guitar or recorder chops back. Consistency is what I find is important. Go for it!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

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ResearchMed wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 3:00 pm Raising two hands here!
Wow! piano, flute, opera, ballroom dance, Italian... What a great story!

In some ways, it's all part of the same package, isn't it?
...We visited dear friends who are Italian shortly before Covid. We were thrilled - and very surprised - that they could actually understand what we were singing - without already being familiar with the lyrics - if we repeated some sections a couple of times. That was a good sanity check on how we were doing with the language.
This is so great--the music and dance lessons led to language study!
... between the various lessons, we managed to add some years of extra vigorous exercise and foreign language practice to the ongoing music. The dancing was probably the most advantageous health-wise; the exercise was often intense. We really miss that, a lot.
Thanks for taking the time to tell the story and evolution of your artistic endeavors. Italian is such a great language!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

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GibsonL6s wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 3:40 pm Amateur here. I played in a garage band in high school (late 70s). The other members of the band tried to have musical careers with varying success until getting real jobs. In my 50s I started guitar lessons again and wanted to try to learn theory and to read music and maybe play some jazz. I ended up not having the patience to learn to read as I was always an ear player and also realized I did not really like much jazz. The lessons did help me get better at the styles of music I do like which is blues and rock. I ultimately stopped the lessons as I really don't want to be in a Dad rock band, but still play one to four hours a week for fun. I view music as one of the hobbies we can can to later in life. My dad played clarinet into his 80s.

Great thread, thanks.
Guitar is a wonderfully accessible instrument. I had an ES175 when I was a teenager, and aspired to be a jazz guitarist. But realized the guitar wasn't the right fit for me, although I did meet some of my heroes on guitar (Joe Pass; Barney Kessel) along the way.

Cool that your dad played into his 80s. I have a feeling that you will too. Blues & Rock are totally cool. Just as long as you keep music in your life!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

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doobiedoo wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 4:30 pm [My hand raised] :thumbsup

I played violin for 10 years as a kid -- age 9-19. Took private lessons for 9 of those years. I was good, but only in the middle of the pack of a good college orchestra's 1st violin section. After sophomore year of college, I stopped playing because I had no time to practice. [I was at MIT.] And then the rest of life got in the way. Work, marriage, kids, etc. I didn't play for 40 years!
You know you're not the only one in this category.
I retired at 57. I still didn't drag out my violin, which had been gathering dust under my bed for those 40 years. I joined an OLLI [Osher Lifelong Learning Institute] program at Cal State Fullerton, which has "classes" for retirees but with no tests and no homework. One of those classes was a string ensemble. It took me a year to get around to it, but I finally went.
Cal State (East Bay) was where I went to get my BA in Music in my late 50s. Terrific program.
I still remembered everything about playing in my head. But I couldn't bow an open string without hitting another string! All of my muscle memory was gone! It took me 6 months to get it back. Even today, I don't play as well technically as I did when I was 17. There is no substitute for the coordination of youth!
Sure but does it really matter? You're living the dream!
...I enjoy playing so much more than I did when I was a kid. Practicing then was a chore. Today I enjoy practicing. And if I don't feel like it for a day or two, I skip it.
That's such an important lesson to learn--you just get back in the practice chair and keep at it.
I started playing with string quartets, local college orchestras, a community orchestra, and some bands. [Not all at the same time!] The leader of the first band I joined wanted me to sing lead on the songs I suggested! Uh-oh! That could be embarrassing. So I started voice lessons! Took private voice lessons for 8 years [until Covid].
Your story gets better and better...
Now I'm starting to write songs. [Only 2 so far.] And I'm the instructor at that OLLI string ensemble class.

I still have the violin my parents bought for $30 when I was 9 years old. But I got tired of the tinny E string and sounding worse than the other violins, so I bought a new violin for $45k in 2017. I still hear lots of violinists [admittedly better than me] with better instruments, but at least mine is not the worst now.
Being a Boglehead paid off!
Rediscovering music at age 58 has changed my life! Thanks for this thread, Jazztonight.
No. Thank you!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

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ResearchMed wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 3:00 pm About 15 years ago, we took up ballroom dance, which started as "we'll just take a couple of lessons so we know 'how to dance' ". We immediately fell in love with it, plus it was incredible exercise.
DW and I are still in the "took a few lessons so we know how to dance". Just enough to look like we know what we're doing at weddings.

But I think it's actually pretty important for many musicians (depending on the genre they play) to also know a little about dance, particularly if a lot of what you're playing is, essentially, dance music.

If you can dance a waltz, you'll play a waltz better, with accents in the right spots. If you can cha-cha, you'll always play a cha-cha at a good, danceable tempo, etc.
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by Cranberry44 »

I’m a music teacher :shock: :oops:

Primarily jazz and woodwinds. Used to teach college but now I’m at a college prep high school (pays better!).
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by 59Gibson »

Amateur guitarist here. Mainly electric, little acoustic. Cannot read music. Mostly rock and blues. I've attempted some jazz compositions ( wow the chords and scales!) So I stay in my lane. I plan to continue as I age. I see the fingers of some older guitarists and think how can they play, their fingers are so crooked. Lifetime of hard use on the fingerboard :)
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by investingdad »

Well I’ve certainly documented my violin story on here after asking for advice about starting as a complete music noob five and a half years ago.

Where I’ve lagged is playing with a group. I realize now that the adult string ensemble classes will need to wait a few more years until I have more free time. But weekly lessons with my teacher are great. Best part about being an adult student is I get to choose the music we play, though she’s nudged me in certain directions as I’ve progressed.

We’ve been using the Kayser etudes for the last six months or so for the “instructional” portion of lessons.

I’ve come to accept there are certain ceilings to my playing, the key is to find great music that allows me to work around that.
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by Sandtrap »

Training:
4 years of voice/singing.
2 years bass guitar
Decades of guitar coaching: Classical, Hawaiian, Slack Key, ***Jazz, etc.
2 years ukulele

prof/amateur: (stage, etc, later shows for large senior halls, centers, etc. ) “small kine”. Plus monthly jams and things.
(decades)
Solo singer/player
Guitar duo
Hawaiian Trio
“Kanikapila” (anytime) :D :D

Ended up usually more of an entertainer/singer while playing guitar or ukulele, as there are so many “really skilled musicians out there” ... and someone has to tell the stories and the jokes...so....

Best musician tool ever: Sure SM Mic and a very very long cord or cordless to get amongst the crowd and folks to "sing a long".

Now retired:
Current: Zoom lessons for :Flamenco, Bass.
Practice: have always put in 2-3 fun hours most every day. Plus singing.. :D :D
Challenges: Eyes, hands, memory....memmmori...attentoinn sppannn...

Have a digital grand piano and would like to learn piano but still no time for it.

Guitars; Taylor, Martin, Les Paul, Strat, Spanish, etc.
Ukuleles: Kanile’a, Kamaka, etc.

Read, write, compose, arrange.

Suggestions:
Lessons and playing with musicians with pro skills keeps things challenging and alive.
Stay exposed to new music, styles, instruments, like a permanent beginner, to stay “fresh”.
Have fun, always have fun. :D :happy
Keep a sense of humor :D :D

Tip from an old fellow when I started to play trio's and shows for senior centers, etc.
"Your music transports people to another time in their life of happy memories. Do it well."

Me Ke Aloha
j🌴

*Robert, Mahalo for posting this thread for all to benefit, from curious to pro. :D :D
Last edited by Sandtrap on Sun Jun 19, 2022 10:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

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investingdad wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 7:56 pm Well I’ve certainly documented my violin story on here after asking for advice about starting as a complete music noob five and a half years ago.

Where I’ve lagged is playing with a group. I realize now that the adult string ensemble classes will need to wait a few more years until I have more free time. But weekly lessons with my teacher are great. Best part about being an adult student is I get to choose the music we play, though she’s nudged me in certain directions as I’ve progressed.

We’ve been using the Kayser etudes for the last six months or so for the “instructional” portion of lessons.

I’ve come to accept there are certain ceilings to my playing, the key is to find great music that allows me to work around that.
I remember when you first posted, and am glad to hear you're still at it. You certainly took a challenging instrument, but motivation is the key, and I'm glad that you have stuck with it.
Although I play with other musicians in a few different settings, I also enjoy sitting in my study playing with "backing tracks," e.g. a recording of a rhythm session of piano, bass, and drums playing their parts on a given standard allowing me to play lead, both melody (the "head") and improvised solos. But that's jazz. I'll be there are similar backing tracks where you could play the styles of music you love.

Your other option is to find musicians who play at a level similar to yours and join them. Perhaps your teacher or some friends could suggest something. You know, even just a clarinetist, flutist, or pianist would fill the bill.

Regardless, carry on!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by winston_yang »

fposte wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 2:38 pm I play with 8notes.com a lot,
Thank you for the music web site, fposte. Below are two more music web sites:
JupiterJones wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 5:53 pm If you can dance a waltz, you'll play a waltz better, with accents in the right spots. If you can cha-cha, you'll always play a cha-cha at a good, danceable tempo, etc.
Good advice, JupiterJones.

I have played violin in various places. Music can be a good way to connect with people. For example:
  • Retirement homes: One time, a woman closed her eyes and hummed or sang along.
  • Work, for special occasions: Coworkers, some of whom I did not know, would talk to me. Often, I asked them if they played any instruments. Sometimes they had played when they were young, or they had kids who played.
  • Weddings: At one reception dinner, some children or teenagers gathered around my violin and me.
  • Church.
I have much training in violin. For example, I can play parts of the following songs:
  • Mendelssohn violin concerto.
  • Bruch violin concerto.
  • Mozart violin concerto 5.
  • Schubert's Trout Quintet (Piano Quintet in A Major), first violin.
I also play flute, play a little piano, and sing a little.

I was fortunate to grow up in environments which supported music:
  • My parents paid for and drove me to private lessons.
  • Various schools and organizations had various music groups:
    • School had free private lessons around 10 minutes long, around each week.
    • Orchestra.
    • Small ensemble (chamber music).
    • Pit orchestra (for musicals).
    • Concert band.
    • Marching band.
    • Choir.
    • All-state high-school orchestra.
    • City youth orchestra, which gave free tickets to concerts by the city professional orchestra.
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

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Cranberry44 wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 7:08 pm I’m a music teacher :shock: :oops:

Primarily jazz and woodwinds. Used to teach college but now I’m at a college prep high school (pays better!).
My high school band teacher was my first mentor, and changed my life in so many wonderful ways.

I hope the same thing happens to you many times!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
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59Gibson wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 7:25 pm Amateur guitarist here. Mainly electric, little acoustic. Cannot read music. Mostly rock and blues. I've attempted some jazz compositions (wow the chords and scales!) So I stay in my lane. I plan to continue as I age. I see the fingers of some older guitarists and think how can they play, their fingers are so crooked. Lifetime of hard use on the fingerboard :)
The challenges we set for ourselves are ours alone, and I know you're thinking about where you want to go in music. The guitar is one of the most beautiful and also a very challenging instrument.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
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Sandtrap wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 8:02 pm Training:
Voice/singing, bass guitar, Classical, Hawaiian, Slack Key, Jazz, guitar, ukulele...
Jimmy, you the man, my friend!

And I know what you're doing in your retirement: Flamenco, Bass, daily practice, and perhaps you'll fit in the piano as well. The sky's the limit!

Mahalo to you!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by Mel Lindauer »

When I got out of the Marine Corps in 1960, a fellow Marine needed money and offered to sell me his guitar AND teach me to how play. I took him up on it and learned a few chords before he got transferred. Floundered around, trying to improve, but never took lessons.

After I got out of the Marine Corps, in my civilian job, I was a department manager and needed to put on a night shift because of a nice contract our company got. Turned out that one of the girls I hired for the night shift had a husband who played the guitar. He had to stay home with the kids while she worked nights. She said that he'd love to have me stop over and play with him. I was hesitant because I wasn't very good, but I did. He had a friend who was a drummer, and after a while with just the two of us practicing on guitar, he suggested we invite him to join us. We did, and after adding a bass player, ended up forming a rock and roll group. We started playing clubs, colleges and weddings. Back then, if you knew three chords, you could play most of the popular rock songs. And none of us read music; we all played by ear.

We often heard comments from club patrons that they really liked our music, but we really needed to add a sax (they were big back in the 60s). However, once the Beattles came along with two guitars, bass and drums, we were in demand. Only problem was, we spent lots of time trying to figure out which chords they were using, since three chords no longer worked for their music.

Eventually I started a business and didn't have time to continue my part-time music, so I gave it up. Sold my Les Paul Fretless Wonder (little did I know its true value) to our bass player who was offered a job with a house band in Vegas (he played guitar, too). Also sold my much lighter Fender Stratocaster. Purchased a keyboard that I thought I'd like to learn, but never could find the time to do so.

So my music career ended. It was definitely fun while it lasted. And I couldn't believe that I actually got paid when I never considered myself to be a good musician.
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by Dottie57 »

In high school I played the flute in band. Started in 5th grade. I practicedand did fairly well. Stopped after H.S..

Tinkered around on piano and guitar..

Now I am thinking of trying a mountain dulcimer. 4 strings. Should bless stressful on hands than a guitar. Instruments are middli g in price. Won’t try until the winter.
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Post by Jazztonight »

winston_yang wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 10:45 pm I have played violin in various places. Music can be a good way to connect with people.
You listed so many truths, Winston!

I too have performed on the "memory care" floor of retirement facilities and seen residents tapping their feet and singing along to songs they remember even though they might not recall who they are.

Your ability to play the Mendelssohn violin concerto (one of my favorites) as well as the Bruch and Mozart violin concertos, etc. is wonderful. And as you say, growing up in an environment that supported music is a Godsend.

Thanks for sharing!
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Post by Jazztonight »

Mel Lindauer wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 10:56 pm ...Back then, if you knew three chords, you could play most of the popular rock songs... However, once the Beatles came along with two guitars, bass and drums, we were in demand. Only problem was, we spent lots of time trying to figure out which chords they were using, since three chords no longer worked for their music.

...It was definitely fun while it lasted. And I couldn't believe that I actually got paid when I never considered myself to be a good musician.
Hey, Mel, the definition of a professional musician that I like the best is this: "If you get paid, you're a professional." So let's say you were and leave it at that!

Thanks for sharing. I also believe that the keyboard/piano is not the right instrument for everyone. For you, it might just be the guitar!
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by Jazztonight »

Dottie57 wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 11:09 pm In high school I played the flute in band. Started in 5th grade. I practiced and did fairly well. Stopped after H.S. Tinkered around on piano and guitar.

Now I am thinking of trying a mountain dulcimer...
I didn't start to love the flute until I learned to play it.

But one should play the instrument that speaks to you, and it certainly could be the mountain dulcimer. So go for it. There's no time limit and no pressure. It's there for your pleasure, enjoyment, and satisfaction. Good luck!
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by Tyrobi »

Amateur here. I play guitar and my wife plays keyboard/piano for our church.

I took guitar lessons as a kid but then abandon it for decades until 5 years ago. Guitar is now my main hobby/passion and I try to put in ~2 hours of practice daily. I currently own Taylor acoustic and Fender electric. I also take weekly online lesson and follow Troy Stetina's methods (Metal Rhythm Guitar & Metal Lead Guitar). My goal is to be good enough to join a cover band as a lead guitarist. Hopefully, one day when I semi-retire or retire, I can enroll in a music school.

Nice thread!
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by investingdad »

I think I’ve identified the biggest challenge when starting an instrument as an adult and I say it with the vantage point of having two kids in high school involved in music.

It’s the lack of structured group setting and conductor led music instruction that elementary and middle school students get as part of being in band or orchestra. That’s not easily found as an adult. There is a community music school near me that does beginner string ensemble for adults but it’s hard to replace a school program for that facet of learning.

I can and do spend every day practicing and playing and then weekly with my teacher, but it’s not the same as learning the ropes with a school orchestra and just coming up the ladder with classmates.

And I don’t know about all of YOU folks…but I’ve found when I’m playing something new it runs through my head continuously as an ear worm. This week it’s Danny Boy and Scotland the Brave.
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by Michael Patrick »

I got my first guitar when I was in high school. I quickly realized it was easier to meet girls by being in a band than by being third string on the football team, and I didn't have to stand out in the field in the mud and the sleet with the coach yelling at me and guys who outweighed me by 70 pounds trying to tear my head off...

I've been in bands pretty much ever since. I've played a lot of different kinds of music over the years - blues, Top 40, oldies, punk, reggae, "classic" rock, country, and for the last couple of decades mostly hard rock originals.
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by Sandtrap »

Michael Patrick wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 6:53 am I got my first guitar when I was in high school. I quickly realized it was easier to meet girls by being in a band than by being third string on the football team, and I didn't have to stand out in the field in the mud and the sleet with the coach yelling at me and guys who outweighed me by 70 pounds trying to tear my head off...

I've been in bands pretty much ever since. I've played a lot of different kinds of music over the years - blues, Top 40, oldies, punk, reggae, "classic" rock, country, and for the last couple of decades mostly hard rock originals.
Thanks for sharing:

A similar story and start:

I played a little piano and learned to read notes when little.
But.

One day (long long ago in a land far away) I met a cute girl in 7th grade that was taking Spanish guitar lessons.
She had a guitar.

So, I walked her home from school as often as I could to "carry her books", "maybe hold her hand", "but. . . . . got to play her Spanish Guitar and take music lessons form her as often as I could.
I got her to give me the exact lessons that she took from the guitar teacher.

Well......we stopped "dating" after a year. . . but. . by then I was already taking Classical Guitar lessons and playing the guitar (fingerstyle) along with "James Taylor", "Bob Dylan", and of course, Hawaiian Music in Hawaiian. . etc. . . . .
.....
my classical guitar went with me nearly everywhere and matched my "leather tire sandals". . . which were the fad back then. .

IMHO:
1
learn to play guitar with your "fingers" (fingerstyle) and either read "tab" very quickly or read "notes", and learn to use all of the guitar "fingerboard" (after all, you pay for the whole thing). . . is a huge benefit to a guitar music journey that benefits all styles of playing.
2
Regardless of price and quality, guitars are like "shoes", it's important to find one that fits your body, hand, fingers, etc.
3
Have your guitar professionally "setup" for you and your style of play. A "luthier" can do this annually as the guitar ages and settles in, which it does forever.

j :D
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Post by Jazztonight »

Tyrobi wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 12:58 am Amateur here. I play guitar and my wife plays keyboard/piano for our church.
I took guitar lessons as a kid but then abandoned it for decades until 5 years ago.
I find this is a common story! And aren't you glad you rediscovered this passion?
...(I) try to put in ~2 hours of practice daily.
The daily practice is what drives your progress and growth, imho.
My goal is to be good enough to join a cover band as a lead guitarist. Hopefully, one day when I semi-retire or retire, I can enroll in a music school.
I planned to go back to music school for decades before I did. I was one of the few older students; we were truly dedicated and did good work. Go for it!
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Post by Jazztonight »

investingdad wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 6:40 am ...I don’t know about all of YOU folks…but I’ve found when I’m playing something new it runs through my head continuously as an ear worm. This week it’s Danny Boy and Scotland the Brave.
Have you read Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks? It explained "the music in my brain" for the first time. https://www.amazon.com/Musicophilia-Tal ... 1400033535
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Post by Jazztonight »

Michael Patrick wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 6:53 am I got my first guitar when I was in high school. I quickly realized it was easier to meet girls by being in a band than by being third string on the football team...
Once again, the lightbulb goes on.
I've been in bands pretty much ever since.
When you're 95, you'll still be impressing the girls!
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Post by mamster »

Tenor here. I sang in bands in my teens and 20s but was never much into practicing. In 2020, locked down, I decided to get back into singing with a weekly online lesson. If anyone is wondering whether you can get MUCH better at your instrument in middle age (even voice), the answer is emphatically yes, but even more so than when young, you have be willing to put it lots of boring practice time and live with learning plateaus. Worth it!
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Post by 59Gibson »

Mel Lindauer wrote: Sun Jun 19, 2022 10:56 pm And I couldn't believe that I actually got paid when I never considered myself to be a good musician.
Wow Great Story!

There's been a good chunk of "musicians"(extremely loose definition of the word, maybe "entertainer" is better) who've made millions of $. :happy
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Post by Jazztonight »

mamster wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 9:40 am Tenor here. I sang in bands in my teens and 20s but was never much into practicing. In 2020, locked down, I decided to get back into singing with a weekly online lesson. If anyone is wondering whether you can get MUCH better at your instrument in middle age (even voice), the answer is emphatically yes, but even more so than when young, you have be willing to put it lots of boring practice time and live with learning plateaus. Worth it!
You are so right!

My trombone lessons are online, and sometimes we just talk for an hour--I have a list of technical or general questions and discuss things with a master. Better than any other music lessons I ever had.
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Post by Chardo »

I guess I'm a professional. My dad paid me to stop playing.
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Post by max12377 »

I started out as a trombonist in the high school jazz band. Practiced like heck but never got better. Always loved the old standards (aka Sinatra) since I was a kid. Later on found that I could sing and got involved with big bands, local theaters, etc.

Love-hate relationship with jazz piano. Never that good but am determined to get better. It will be one of my retirement “things to do” as I agree it really keeps your brain working !
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Post by harvestbook »

Started out playing guitar and then played bass in several rock bands. Learned drums and some keyboards, all self-taught, and have played around with other instruments like the mandolin, fiddle, dulcimer but prefer electric instruments. Right now more seriously learning the keyboard. I never cared much about learning to read music or learning a bunch of songs, since my jam is to make things up. Probably written over 500 songs and do a good bit of home recording and play all the instruments (though I now use a drum machine for convenience). Luckily I don't have to do it for money and can put time into practicing scales, breathing, and improving vocals.
Last edited by harvestbook on Mon Jun 20, 2022 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Jazztonight »

max12377 wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 11:09 am ...Always loved the old standards (aka Sinatra) since I was a kid.
Sinatra recorded almost everything--so many of the songs from the Great American Songbook.
Later on found that I could sing and got involved with big bands, local theaters, etc.
Love-hate relationship with jazz piano. Never that good but am determined to get better. It will be one of my retirement “things to do” as I agree it really keeps your brain working!
It's never too late--or early--to start. It took me two years of weekly piano lessons to be able to play like I wanted to. You'll get there. And then you'll be able to accompany yourself while you sing. Just find your range and your key.
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harvestbook wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 11:20 am Started out playing guitar and then played bass in several rock bands. Learned drums and some keyboards, all self-taught, and have played around with other instruments like the mandolin, fiddle, dulcimer but prefer electric instruments. Right now more seriously learning the keyboard. I never cared much about learning to read music or learning a bunch of songs, since my jam is to make things up. Probably written over 500 songs and do a good bit of home recording and play all the instruments (though I now use a drum machine for convenience). Luckily I don't have to do it for money and can put time into practicing scales, breathing, and improving vocals.
Everything you've done and learned enabled you to write your songs, which brings you a lot of joy. Don't stop now!
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Post by ResearchMed »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 7:56 am I played a little piano and learned to read notes when little.
But.

One day (long long ago in a land far away) I met a cute girl in 7th grade that was taking Spanish guitar lessons.
She had a guitar.

So, I walked her home from school as often as I could to "carry her books", "maybe hold her hand", "but. . . . . got to play her Spanish Guitar and take music lessons form her as often as I could.
I got her to give me the exact lessons that she took from the guitar teacher.

Well......we stopped "dating" after a year. . . but. .
DRAT!

This story of yours didn't go where I thought it was going!

I thought you were about to write:

"... we ended up getting married X years later..."

:wink:

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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by Elsebet »

In high school I played flute, piccolo, and xylophone/bells but quit in 9th grade. I also took piano lessons for a little while and had an electronic keyboard. I was rarely motivated to practice and when my dad bought me a computer in 9th grade I realized I'd rather spend time on it rather than music. I was that student that no music teacher wanted because of my lack of practice combined with little natural talent. :)

In my mid 30's I played bass guitar for a few years in casual garage bands between 2010 and 2013 when we lived in Cincinnati. When we moved I sold my head/amp but kept my 2 basses, a Fender Jazz 5 string and a Epiphone Thunderbird 4 string. I sang in a garage band too for a bit but I am just not good or motivated enough to do lead vocals in a band. I still really never learned to read music very well, instead I learned by listening to the songs and recreating the bass line by ear. If it was tricky I tried googling tabs.

When I started I bought a cheap Fender bass guitar kit and took lessons for a few months until the teacher moved away. He was a good teacher and played in jazz bands as well as teaching music professionally. He encouraged me to join bands very early in our lessons, and I just went to Craiglist and found bands looking for members and joined a few. Made a lot of friends that way and I highly recommend trying it.

A few months ago at an Erie Philharmonic show they had instruments out that you could try out. I tried a cello and didn't like it, but then I tried a violin and was able to (sort of) play "Mary had a little lamb". I have been thinking about possibly trying to learn the violin.
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Elsebet wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 12:46 pmA few months ago at an Erie Philharmonic show they had instruments out that you could try out. I tried a cello and didn't like it, but then I tried a violin and was able to (sort of) play "Mary had a little lamb". I have been thinking about possibly trying to learn the violin.
Your musical journey is fascinating, and not untypical of young musicians who rejected the "traditional" manner of teaching/learning, yet found a way to play, perform, and have a social & musical connection with others.

If the violin attracts and speaks to you, there's a reason for that. If it is the beginning of a new musical journey, then you are a very fortunate person! (Look for the thread by Investingdad where he documents his own violin journey--it's a fascinating read.)

Now that you're an adult with a mature sensibility, you know what it takes to learn a skill and what the rewards are. The big question at this point is, "Whom are you trying to please?"
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by cellisto »

Cellist here. Played in a few local symphonies but never made it to the big times. Currently practicing frequently and do little "numbers" here and there. Most recently was a 12 person cello ensemble where I was assigned parts in the upper register of the instrument in treble clef. Started out playing saxophone, but could never develop that fat "Sexy" tone, mine was always thin sounding. I dabble in piano and want to take it more seriously, but I don't have the time to practice more than one instrument as it is.
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Re: Any Boglehead musicians out there?

Post by Franklin »

Where are all the drummers!! :happy
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Post by ResearchMed »

When are we having The Bogleheads Recitals?

Actually, some groups, like orchestras, were able to use specialized software/hardware and perform "together", each from their own home or studio. Each appeared in a separate little box on the screen. That was quite a surprise.

To retain the anonymity, we could be "The Masked Bogleheads Musicians". :D

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cellisto wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 1:55 pm Cellist here. Played in a few local symphonies but never made it to the big times.
Yeah, sometimes it's like major league sports.
I dabble in piano and want to take it more seriously, but I don't have the time to practice more than one instrument as it is.
Ain't it the truth. I know what you mean. I no longer "practice" the piano; I just "play," and I'm fully retired. But if I find more practice time, I put it into learning the trombone. Like you, that's my "one" instrument.
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Post by CenTexan »

Franklin wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 2:43 pm Where are all the drummers!! :happy
Out behind the shed drinking beer!
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ResearchMed wrote: Mon Jun 20, 2022 2:55 pm When are we having The Bogleheads Recitals?

Actually, some groups, like orchestras, were able to use specialized software/hardware and perform "together", each from their own home or studio. Each appeared in a separate little box on the screen. That was quite a surprise.

To retain the anonymity, we could be "The Masked Bogleheads Musicians". :D
My experience (and understanding) is that if you're not in the same physical location there's a time lag and you can't play simultaneously. Thus, the little boxes with people listening to previously recorded tracks and playing their parts.

And who would arrange for the wide variety of Boglehead instruments and musical styles? (Not I!)
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