Never too old

Re: Never too old

Wow. Thats also really sweet about his wife Ella. With all those years and memories of music, he would be a living treasure of knoweldge.

Posted by .

Re: Never too old

Well at half his age and a wife who supports me an me pipes, there’s hope yet… 😉

Re: Never too old

My sentiments also, mark. Shame the herald did do a sound file. I couldn’t locate anything after a quick websearch. I’d be interested to hear what he sounds like.

Re: Never too old

Well, it is a very nice article, but let’s keep in mind he started playing when he was six. I started playing when I was 50. I may indeed be too old, but God bless him still playing and continuing his love of music at 90.

Re: Never too old

Which instruments are the hardest to keep being able to play as one ages? (aging not from 20-40; but like from 60-80?) (I have a ways to go yet, thank you, but I’m looking ahead…)

Is it primarily the wind instruments that get harder? (how hard ARE pipes to play, lung capacity-wise? And are all you pipers non-smokers? yeah right…)
..or does the tendonitis/arthritis get the fiddlers, or box players…

I certainly know of musicians who have played well into their eighties. And I love how the gentleman above said he kept getting better and better.

Posted by .

Re: Never too old

Gena - if you are talking about the uillean pipes, lung capacity doesn’t come into it, as they’re bellows blown.

Re: Never too old

For a piper at 90, I would hope he’s way past 7 years practicing, 7 years learning, 7 years playing, and 7 years waiting for his set to be made LOL

Not quite there but gettin there sooner or later

Posted by .

Re: Never too old

It was a very cheering article and Danny, maybe one of us should try and get their hands on the man’s record - I think I’ll go for it, I’ve been learning a few Scottish tunes lately and I love them. I’m planning to go to Edinburgh with hubby later this year and he’s ok with the fact that I’ll try the sessions up there, so I want to be prepared.
It’s great to know that the man is still going, after playing for 84 years, some of us struggle to play after only a few hours!

Posted by .

Re: Never too old

I’d like to investigate this album too, although we might not get much opportunity to play these tunes at sessions. Many of the sessions in Scotland are Irish and the Scottish sessions seem to prefer the newer, more fashionable tunes and those imported from Cape Breton. Of course, many of the latter were ours in the first place. 🙂
There’s a lot of great tunes from that "dance band era"—some of which still get played—but we should be playing more of them.

John

Re: Never too old

Is there something about box playing which promotes long life? I mean Jimmy Shand was still playing in his 90s. Perhaps the "Bullworker" action promotes good blood flow?

At the other end of the scale we have - poets : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/3648773.stm

Posted by .

Re: Never too old

To think I used to write a bit of poetry myself at one time. I’m glad that the poems were no good and I gave it up. Maybe, I’ll live long enough to learn a few more tunes. 🙂

John

Re: Never too old

Thanks for the general info on Scottish sessions John, that’s handy. Jerry Holland seems the composer to watch for ref Cape Breton stuff. I’ve also heard some great tunes by Manus McGuire.
Cath

Posted by .

Re: Never too old

This is really inspiring for those of us that picked up an instrument for the first time at the age of 41…

Re: Never too old

Totally agree with you Lisa Lawrence -

Posted by .

Re: Never too old

Just playing music generally promotes long life because of the physical and mental exercise, and the social aspect, although there may be physical reason why players of wind instruments sometimes may not be able to continue playing into late old age. I know several classical string players locally who are still active playing in orchestras well into their 70s and 80s (and 90s in one or two cases). One lady in particular is in her mid-80s and not only plays in the 2nd violins of a local symphony orchestra (and frequently in the first desk), but is the rehearsal and performance pianist for a major local operatic company. I suspect the exercise of the major muscle groups of the upper limbs as part of stringed instrument playing could be a contributory factor, as is suggested by Bren in relation to box playing.
As regards ITM in my local area there are few musicians aged over 60 (I’m one of those few) , presumably because it hasn’t been established long enough - but give it another 30 years or so and I’ll report back on the matter 🙂. It is possible that other music folk groups (English, morris etc) which have been around a lot longer may have more musicians in the older age groups. I’ll ask around when I get the opportunity to get some sort of impression.
Trevor

Re: Never too old

I read about a recent dementia study that tried to determine what activities might prevent/postpone its onset. The conclusions were: play music (!) and do word puzzles. (perhaps this site is a giant word puzzle in and of itself—but I think they meant crosswords, anagrams, word retrieval stuff…)

I forgot what exactly the playing of music did. (it specified playing, not listening) Maybe kept the general neural pathways well-oiled: ear, eye, hand. arms, breathing all having to be coordinated…

Aerobic physical activity was good for your body generally, but wasn’t too effective generally to prevent dementia. (Reassuring to remember as one sits for hours playing)

So I hope my head says screwed on tight these next decades coming up. It’s so reassuring to read your post Trevor. My mom still plays piano every day at 83, and interestingly enough remembers music she learned when she was a girl, even not having seen it for half a century. Apparently music once learned well, (or maybe learned as a child, I don’t know) stays with you—in your hands maybe.

Posted by .

Re: Never too old

Gena when you say you have forgotten what the music did does that mean you are suffering from dementia?? 🙂

Re: Never too old

Just think, when all these great musicians get "tired of the road", we scrapers can still in the pub with them and exchange tunes all day. 🙂 Old age might not be a bad thing—"Sure, as long as ye got the health".

Re: Never too old

hahaha Breandan…
when my sons introduce us to their friends as "old hippies" the emphasis is still on the second word I think. But I’m sure my husband and I will evolve into museum relic quality pieces of work as the grey takes over…

Posted by .

Re: Never too old

My Mum, who died at the age of 93, was teaching the piano well into her mid-80s, and she continued on with her other main activity of designing and knitting crochet patterns up to the end of her life.
Trevor

Re: Never too old

So if I could just get it together to win the lottery and quit my job—which takes up altogether too much of my time, that’s for sure—I’d be free to play and travel for the next few decades. I’m glad musicians keep going, and going, and going…I plan to.

And after all, the ice supply is infinite… (alas, need to ice down the pitiful right arm sometimes after playing too long)

Posted by .

Re: Never too old

I knew a fine elderly gentleman who played voila in the local community orchestra well into his 80’s. For most of his musical career, he played string bass in the local professional symphony orchestra. He gave it up, not because he couldn’t play it anymore, he just got tired of lugging it around.
As an aside, he would often tell the story of how he was once priviledged to sit under the baton of John Philip Sousa, who had guest-conducted the orchestra he was playing in at the time (Sousa died in 1936, or so I’ve heard).

Re: Never too old

my gran still plays the organ in the local kirk every sunday and she’s 100 later this year.
(mind you, not at the moment as she’s off travelling around the country, on her own!)

Posted by .