Aged players keep on playing - Many professionals active into 80's how?

All topics musical, not specifically piano-related

Postby 119-1097335655 » Sun Oct 10, 2004 3:54 am

It seems that there is a rather large number of professional musicians who remain active long into old age: Vladimir Horowitz, Claudio Arrau, Wilhelm Kempff, Rudolph Serkin, Leonard Berstein, and Alfred Brendel, just to name a few. How is it that these men are able to remain active performers in a discipline that requires so much of one's memory, cooridation, and analytical - to say nothing of creative powers? What, if anything, does this say about the 'pinacle of potency' we all stand quite possibly stand poised upon?

I might add that this is not only true of pianists or musicians but authors (Tolstoy, Vonnegut, Arthur Miller), professors, and well I'll stop lest I give away my own opinion on the subject too soon...
User avatar
119-1097335655
 

Postby 119-1097335655 » Sun Oct 10, 2004 3:56 am

Please excuse my redundant 'stand'...
User avatar
119-1097335655
 

Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Sun Oct 10, 2004 6:03 pm

I can only add my own experience. I retired from a 35+ year university teaching/performing career four years ago, and since that time I have been able to concentrate and focus more mental and physical control (somewhat less power excepted) over the keyboard than ever before. It's not a miracle: we just don't give ourselves credit for what's possible not only in old age but long before. You have to prepare for it--you have to have kept your mind and body active and healthy so that you have a life to continue building on, but it should be the most natural thing in the world for many more years than we all tend to think.

I suppose in my case it's a combination of all the past learning experience, of having more time and less stress, and being able to get up each morning with the blessing of being able to decide what I'll do that day instead of having others decide for me. That, plus finally learning that most things are not as traumatic and important as I used to think.

Dr. Bill Leland
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
Dr. Bill Leland
 
Posts: 548
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Las Cruces, NM

Postby 65-1074818729 » Mon Oct 11, 2004 4:14 pm

You have to prepare for it--you have to have kept your mind and body active and healthy so that you have a life to continue building on, but it should be the most natural thing in the world for many more years than we all tend to think.


My sentiments exactly, Dr. Bill. I believe that genetics probably play some role in all of this, however, as individuals, if we can maintain a healthly active mind in a healthly active body, most of the limitations we have are what we put on ourselves.

:D
User avatar
65-1074818729
 

Postby Wild Rose » Tue Oct 19, 2004 7:15 am

The only areas where age becomes a limitation, as far as I can recall, are "extreem" sports and Chess.

Extreem sports rely on speed and quick healing for the injuries that are a part of the price to be paid. Ballet can be included here since it requires such dicipline and a great deal of actual injury is done at the bone level.

What is interresting is the limitation in Chess. All World Chess Masters have been 25 +/-. This is also probably due to the extreem mental speed necessary to play at these levels. There must be terrific stress involved because, as far as I can recall - and correct me if I'm wrong, while chess masters may play into their 60's they stop about then.

An interresting question
Pratice is what makes the impossible, possible
Czerny

Wild Rose
User avatar
Wild Rose
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 1:42 am
Location: In front of the Computer

Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Tue Oct 19, 2004 10:07 am

Yes, that is a fascinating question, and I doubt that we really have enough information to answer it with any certainty. Einstein and other eminent scientists did their best work at young ages; Einstein was 26 when he published the Special Theory of Relativity--the General Theory came ten years later. But how do you account for someone like Verdi, who wrote his greatest operas in his 80s? Or the great conductors: Toscanini, Stokowski, Ormandy and many others conducted well into their 80s, and orchestral conducting takes plenty of fast thinking and reaction time.

My guess is that when we are young the mind is less encumbered with fixed notions (accurate or otherwise) that build up over years of learning and experience, and thus it is less likely to make daring leaps into unchartered territories that are off the orthodox radar screen. Newton, Einstein, Planck, Hawking and Feynman all were people who took that plunge and turned prevailing ideas on their heads, and I believe it's possible to train the mind to retain the flexibility to do this no matter what the age.

Dr. Bill.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
Dr. Bill Leland
 
Posts: 548
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Las Cruces, NM

Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Tue Oct 19, 2004 1:24 pm

I need to correct a word in that last post that turned the meaning upside down: I should have said, ".....the young mind is less encumbered with fixed notions.....and thus it is MORE likely to make daring leaps....."

Maybe the older mind is more likely to make typos.

Dr. B.
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
Dr. Bill Leland
 
Posts: 548
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Las Cruces, NM

Postby Beckywy » Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:22 pm

There's a huge market of adult students!!

Just took on 3 new adult beginners. I sometimes find teaching adults more enjoyable than kids...because:
1. Adult Conversation!!!
2. They are doing it for themselves - they are realizing a childhood dream.
3. It brings balance to their busy lives.

I'm using 3 different adult beginner books - not by choice, 2 came with their own books, but the one I chose is Faber's adult beginners.

Another great reason is, I find that when the parents take lessons as well, it inspires their kids who are already taking lessons to practice more.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
Beckywy
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2004 10:33 pm
Location: Mississauga, Ontario Canada

Postby 108-1121887355 » Sat Feb 25, 2006 4:45 pm

Most students like it when a parent begins piano - they can usually help them and this makes them feel good about their skills. Duets are a fun way to play with a parent and increases reading ability and rhythm skills.
Beginning something new when older, is good food for the brain. I have two women in their 60's, one is renewing her piano and one who is just beginning! They are having fun!
User avatar
108-1121887355
 


Return to Music Talk

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron