Jamming with the mamas and papas
Take lessons? For those who are still a bit too shy to play with (or in front of) others, music lessons offer another option for honing skills. Ghenady Meirson, founder of www.privatelessons.com, an Internet business that matches music teachers and students, recommends finding a teacher who understands you're an adult. You're even less likely than your kids to be inspired by scoldings of "You're not practicing!" Look for someone who talks to you upfront about the best way to help you attain your musical goals and is willing to coach you through your frustrations with a new instrument.
Those who don't know which instrument to play should follow their instincts, says Ernst. Seek the one whose sound you love. Otherwise, try an instrument your local New Horizons Band might need.
Pianos remain the instrument of choice for the majority of new adult students, says Matthew Harre, a Washington, D.C., piano instructor, who has many adult students. Learning to play piano "was definitely on my list of things to do before I die," says Kathy Alsegaf of Dunn Loring, Va., who is in her early 40s. She and her husband, Hadi, share an early-morning lesson each week with Harre. Stacy Zook of Washington, D.C., came to Harre 3 1/2 years ago, seeking solace in music after the death of her 2-year-old daughter. "Her picture is on my piano, and I would practice every day, and it would be a holy time," says Zook, whose two other daughters enjoy listening to her play Bach.
Potential health benefits can even help keep the metronome ticking. Playing a musical instrument may decrease the risk of dementia, according to a study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Nice bonus that it is, though, making music is not about health. It's about--well--making music. Bring on the instruments, and the adults will rock.