Progress As You Age

IJR

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I heard an educator say that most growth/skill is acquired before someone's thirties or late thirties.

I am curious if anyone has info or personal experience of progress on the instrument as a musician ages.

Obviously life/family/interest/careers can distract.

Thoughts?
 

JDA

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you never stop progressing; especially when you realize..Time is getting Short i.e. it's now or never! Go do it. what ever it may be (from a 'move' on a drum set to who knows what (attempting moves on a drum set: much safer (than say entering a Grand Prix)
but Musically...get it all in Time's ticking. So with that in mind I'd say always progressing
 

Tornado

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I heard an educator say that most growth/skill is acquired before someone's thirties or late thirties.

I am curious if anyone has info or personal experience of progress on the instrument as a musician ages.

Obviously life/family/interest/careers can distract.

Thoughts?
Learning becomes slower as you age. But you're often more mature and organized as you age, so that can help to offset the slowdown. For example, everyone knows you should practice things slow at first. When you're 40, you'll probably actually do it. I found that I was much better at making a plan and sticking to it.

On the other hand, so what? Nothing you can do about it, so you might as well just keep on keeping on.
 

JDA

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Learning becomes slower as you age.
no way. Culminating Utilizing everything you've absorbed, up to that point becomes clearer..Expressing (on stage..) becomes dearer more immediate like. Now.
(just experienced it yesterday on-stage with highly capable com-padres) It's Now.
I guess there's learning and there's executing. I'm probably talking about the latter.
 
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jptrickster

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Yeah skills and stamina I peaked about 30 yrs ago. It's a mental game now, just try to remember the arrangements is a task these days. Use it or loose it. Give it away if yo want to keep it. And take your vitamins!
 

JDA

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(within the first four measures yesterday I had to (to fit a musical event) play a lick I don't recall playing or practicing this past lockup year or so..
I had to suit the situation instantly (with a motion) that would have never occurred to me. there's learning right there at 65. And I was the youngest in the 4 piece group
 
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Pat A Flafla

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A couple factors that affect that:
Your brain is more flexible when you're young.
You have lots of basic life things to manage as you age, which sucks up your time. Not to mention all the hobbies, etc. you've picked up. When I was 17, I played drums hours and hours every day. I studied print-only Lone Star catalogs for some reason. It's pretty much all I thought about 24/7. I don't even do that now as a professional musician.
 

TheElectricCompany

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The older I get the less I need to play to learn something. If there's a lick or groove I want to learn I'll just think about it offhandedly for a day or two before ever putting it to the kit, and when I finally sit down all the parts are there and it's just a matter of playing it cleanly. I can accomplish so much more by doing that instead of dedicating an afternoon of focused practice to the task.
 

IJR

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The older I get the less I need to play to learn something. If there's a lick or groove I want to learn I'll just think about it offhandedly for a day or two before ever putting it to the kit, and when I finally sit down all the parts are there and it's just a matter of playing it cleanly. I can accomplish so much more by doing that instead of dedicating an afternoon of focused practice to the task.
Interesting approach! I might think about the sound of something, but I rarely ever mentally practice in that way.
 

mtarrani

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In 1964 through early 1967 I was self taught and relatively competent as a garage band drummer back in that era. Competent to play the simplistic rock that was the order of the day. I quit in February 1967 and embarked on a 22 year navy career, followed by a career as an IT consultant. I moved to Florida in 2004 to semi-retired and my brother and [then] girlfriend convinced me that I should take it back up. This go round I played the music that I had grown to love (jazz) and spent a lot of time learning a bit of theory, rudiments and the ability to read (but not sight read.) I also devoted myself to learning how to play brushes. I picked up after 37 years of not playing and I think that I am much better than I would have been had I not quit for other pursuits. Why? Because I was mature enough to realize that while I was good enough to play in a garage (i.e., cover) band, I was a drummer and not a musician. I worked at becoming a musician, which I probably would have never done had I continued to play.
 

Ludwigboy

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I stopped playing drums when I was 21 or so and picked it up at 55 when I had a chance at early retirement. I was a so so drummer then but am much better (but still lacking much:D ) at 55 and after (I am 57) but as "mtarrani" said above, I would consider myself a drummer and not a musician (not a serious musician). The 30 plus years of not playing plus maturity and focus helped me be prepared to come back to the instrument...I also think that during those 30 plus years, I would listen to songs but my ear would immediately go to the drum part of the song...so I was learning drum parts in my head and not physically playing them... I still do this now.
 

poco rit.

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Old head drummers have less testosterone and therefore drag thinking about chicken pot pie and Biofreeze
 
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TheElectricCompany

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Interesting approach! I might think about the sound of something, but I rarely ever mentally practice in that way.
I first noticed it when I took a year off from playing. During that time off I was still listening to a ton of different music and thinking about the drums constantly, but I just didn't have my kit set up because I was burnt out. When I finally started playing again I was a completely different player. All the time off broke me of a lot of bad habits and without realizing it I'd completely changed my approach to playing by just listening for a year. 13 years later and the approach still works for me.
 

multijd

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I’m more fluid, quicker, more musical, more variations. My mind is sharp and my reflexes respond with more assurance. Maybe I’m smarter and don’t do as many of the uncertain things nor do I play without confidence. I have to disagree with the premise that younger is better. I heard in the older players, when I was young, a seasoning that I recognized could only come with experience and the knowledge of many times around the sun. I’m there now. And it feels good.
 

paul

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I took a 16 year break from bands and playing generally when I came to Texas, and was in my early 50's when I started playing at all seriously again. That was in 1997, and I've played continuously since then, in a variety of musical situations. At 74 I'm obviously experiencing some physical limitations. I simply don't have as much speed as I did 50 years ago, but have gained knowledge elsewhere.

I think the main thing has been to play as often as possible in as many different situations as possible. So I've spent time in country, rock, and jazz bands of all sorts, and whenever possible with people who are better at it than I am. Every gig/rehearsal/jam becomes a learning opportunity and helps me develop skills that may be useful in a different setting.

My biggest advantage, though, has been playing in a constantly improving big band for 20 years of weekly rehearsals and occasional gigs. Being regularly confronted with new music, along with the pressure of not wanting to embarrass myself in front of others has, I believe, been a great help.

There are a few things I can't do any more and some things I can do, but not as fast, but there are also things I do now that I'd have never even thought of at 25. The main thing, though, is that I still get to play with people who push me to try to get better, and give me the chance to expand my abilities.
 

mattmalloy66

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My age, and my appreciation of a growing number of genres, is the only thing that has progressed much.
 
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mjohnson12

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The decade I learned the most was my 30s but it was mainly because of who I was playing with and I was being challenged to grow my playing on a weekly basis. In my early 40s I wasn't getting to play many gigs but late 40s I started playing gigs again. I think I've had to improve the last 3 years as much as I did in my late 30s.
I would think your situation of how much you get to play affects how much you learn more than how old you are. I'm a lot better now than I was when I was younger and I'm 50.
 

Swissward Flamtacles

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I heard an educator say that most growth/skill is acquired before someone's thirties or late thirties.
I agree with others that it's a lot due to having more time and motivation as you are young, but I've seen older musicians (50+) that vastly improved because they knew what they wanted to learn. Being older, humble and analytical has its merits, too.
Even if the brain and body of a young person may act like a sponge that soaks up new information more quickly (no idea how true that is), what's the alternative? Nobody can turn back time, so you might as well try it as you're older. You won't have dreams about becoming a superstar, but also not the remorse when you realize that that doesn't work out. :)
 

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Pablo Casals was in his 80s when he agreed to have Robert Snyder make a movie short, “A Day in the Life of Pablo Casals.” Snyder asked Casals, the world’s foremost cellist, why he continues to practice four and five hours a day. Casals answered: “Because I think I am making progress.” For those who may not know much about Casals, he played on request for both Queen Victoria and President Kennedy.
 
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