I'm nearly 50. I've never learnt to read music and I don't play music. Is it hard to learn and read music notation as an adult?
I don't remember much about the music classes I had at school. All I remember is that our music teacher was ancient, he didn't like children much and he had no sense of humour and zero personality. I felt as if he made the subject as unappealing as possible. He was very uninspiring.
I have a wide taste in music but as far as music notation is concerned I am completely illiterate. To me it's just a series of symbols. I wouldn't have a clue. I find it bewildering. (I can read and write shorthand but not music notation )
How and where do I start? Is there a preferred method?
Never too late. And it isn't that tricky once you get the hang of it. Blob moves up the page you go higher. Blob moves down the page go lower. Different shape blobs last for different lengths of time. In a nutshell. Go for it! Easier with an instrument than without, I'd say, and go for single line ie not piano to start with. I say that as a professional pianist and piano teacher!
You don’t necessarily need to learn stave notation if you’re learning guitar or ukulele. Lots of guitar type instruments use TAB notation and /or chord symbols which is an easier notation. I’m a violinist but I can play the bass and guitar to a basic level using TAB.
If you went for ukulele there are lots of amateur ukulele orchestras around. I think playing in a group with other people is the most fun you can have with a musical instrument and it helps to keep your enthusiasm going as you have concerts to work towards.
I’m a left-handed musician, although I ended up concentrating on singing. I am very left handed, can’t do much with my right at all, and had no problem playing the recorder and clarinet in the normal way. You would need to play most instruments in the same way as a right handed person.
If you play a woodwind instrument, for example, the left hand goes at the top and the right at the bottom. If you played a recorder you could theoretically swap hands because the finger holes are quite simple, but flutes and clarinets for example have keys which are operated by the little fingers which are slightly to the side of the body of the instrument so switching hands wouldn’t work. If you play a bowed string instrument you use the right hand for the bow and the left for the fingerboard (which might feel slightly unnatural at first). But it’s usual to do this so that when you play in an orchestra you are not clashing elbows with your neighbour. But a guitar can be restrung so that you can play it left handed (I do this and so does Paul MacCartney!)
ZenNudist - I'd like to learn music theory and how to play an instrument. I just assumed one had to learn the theory first.
I would be a complete novice again. I learnt to play the recorder at school but I don't remember a thing about the theory. Our music teacher in what is now Year 7 sort of assumed that we already had some basic knowledge of music theory. He spent very little time on explaining notation. We had to sing from sheet music while our teacher played the piano. I memorised everything as far as I can remember, because I couldn't read the notation. (This was not in the UK)