Making music isn’t just for professionals, according to this guide that aims to make the joys of playing and singing accessible to adults.
Nathan (The Young Musician’s Survival Guide, 2008, etc.), a prolific author of books for children and their parents, turns her attention to adults who want to incorporate music into their lives. Unfortunately, she writes, “many people aren’t aware of the range of music-making options that are available for people who choose not to pursue music professionally.” In this encouraging, engaging volume, she quickly dispels the notion that being musical requires innate talent or years of rigorous training that must begin in childhood. To discover how “avocational” musicians manage to make time for playing, singing, and composing, she assembled a panel of 363 amateur performers who either completed open-ended questionnaires or shared their experiences in interviews. This trove of diverse, real-life stories helps turn this book from what could have been a ho-hum, how-to manual into an inspirational guide. Readers can easily see how people of wide-ranging ages, backgrounds, and levels of musical expertise have found outlets for their creativity and passion. After a brief overview of the advantages of “Keeping On with Music,” which include cognitive benefits, social connections, and reduced stress, she discusses how three broad categories make it work. First are those who began playing as children and never stopped. Though dreams of performing professionally have been abandoned, these individuals have joined choirs, amateur ensembles, and semipro orchestras. There are also those who played in the past but gave it up for a time only to return, as well as adults who are new to making music (or at least new to their chosen instruments). She touches on the unique challenges each of these groups faces, from poor teachers and time constraints to lack of practice space and the belief that one is simply not good enough to play or sing. Throughout, the emphasis is on the pleasure that can come from making music, whatever one’s skill level.
Perfect for either novices or lapsed performers who want to embrace music but aren’t sure how.