OLD SCHOOL
Reader's Digest Canada|December 2020
OLD SCHOOL
I started playing the trumpet at 42. Why learning new skills as an adult is easier—and more fun—than you think.
Rebecca Philps

LAST FEBRUARY, before the world went into lockdown, I sat in a cramped waiting room with about 10 other people, all under age 12. “I’m dyyying!!” I texted my friend, shaking with silent laughter. “What am I doing here?!”

Here was a music academy, and I was about to take my first trumpet lesson. Learning to play was something I had talked about for years, for no reason other than I thought it would be fun. But it wasn’t until my husband gave me a trumpet for Christmas that I got the final push to give it a try.

I was floundering. In three years I’d had two kids, left a full-time job to freelance, and we’d moved across the country. I wanted something that was invigorating, a little out of left field and, most importantly, just for me.

I’ve never mastered a musical instrument before and had lived with the quiet shame of being called tone deaf since I was a kid (I’m not, for the record). But there I was at 42, throwing my lot in with a bunch of preteen mini Mozarts. I was simultaneously nervous and thrilled by the idea of starting something new.

It had been years since I’d tried a hobby in which I had no background, no connections, no baseline knowledge. I was curious to see if I could hack it. As it turned out, I could—and with a few simple tips, so can anyone.

EMBRACE DISCOMFORT AND HAVE FUN

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December 2020