Do you ever wish you could play an instrument?

Know what I tell everyone who wants to learn? And I am NOT kidding when I say this. Go start with the ‘Sound of Music’. The scene where she is going through Doh a Deer and says, "it's a very good place to start" is VERY true. But everyone thinks it's too rudimentary! But everything in life has to start somewhere. Why not at the beginning? If you planted one bulb in your garden every year, you'd have quite a garden as the years go by!

What I think many of us don’t notice is the bad habits we accumulate over those years. We learn bitterness by picking it up every day. We learn to hate by seeing it every day. We learn to be jealous by the ads thrown at us for seconds at a time.

With music, I believe we think a certain age is too late. It seems like the magic number is 30, but for some, they may have thrown the towel well before that. Once a person reaches 45 and 50, they are absolutely sure there is no reason to start something like that. Subsequent ages that follow seem to laugh at the prospect of learning music.
Well, let’s look at the reasons then. I think the (cough cough, failing) music industry is responsible in part or maybe in whole. You are supposed to be under 25 (these days under 5…lol) and you better look like a model. Guys better be sleek with “just off of Melrose” stitched clothing. You better be able to sell products that are not music-related too. Oh and the odd favor on a casting couch…oh man…let me stop there…

Those reasons seem traditionally obvious. But, what about our own personal reasons? I have heard countless stories of people who won’t do any music because their own family and friends make fun of them. This isn’t even getting booed at the bar, I mean the people who claim to love you! “Oh my children would laugh at me” “my husband would think I am nuts”.

How about the “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? (the biggest crock of crap line ever spoken IMO)

Of course the older we get, the more difficult it is to break old habits. Wrapping your fingers and brain around a cello IS a hurdle. But since when has a hurdle stopped us in any other area of our life?

Gratification almost always comes from hard work paying off. But I think before we ever get there, the hardest work is teaching our brain to go along for the ride.

I used to be involved in the Second City Improv in Toronto. Our teacher would tell us, “Say Yes to everything”. While that is completely impractical in many areas of our life, it’s completely imperative in our creative endeavors. Trying stuff, getting dirty, mucking around in the mud are methods of freeing our spirit in order to try the things we want. It’s kind of like yelling in a shopping mall. Scary, but after you’ve done it, it’s quite gratifying. (Don’t ask me how I know that) ;)

For the last few weeks atthepublicrecord.com/Steverpage I have had the opportunity to be immersed in the creativity of very artistic people while we are all working on our charity song together. You know what I love about TPR though? The spirit. I have encountered the smallest amount of ego in this community than any group of musicians I have ever worked with. These are people with varying degrees of musical knowledge but I am feeling the childlike spirit again. It’s the spirit where children just run free with each other because it’s FUN!

Music started off that way. There are many areas of our lives where we accuse others of deceiving us, but to me the biggest lie ever spread has been that we cannot do something. The crappy part is the lie is fed to us in tiny spoonfuls like preservatives in food. No one thing makes us feel ill, it’s the accumulation of the lie.

If you want to pick up a guitar, play a keyboard or buy a set of drums, you should do it.

I was just telling some friends on my FB account (facebook.com/karen.stever if you haven’t found me on there) that my Mother learned to play the guitar 5 years before she died. Know what? I have never seen her that happy and content. She was fighting a terrible disease for those 5 years and that didn’t stop her from enjoying this new instrument every day. She said it was an awful hurdle to get over. The Chemo was taking the skin from her fingertips. She did it anyways.

If you want to, go and DO IT!

Much love on ya!
Karen :)

“The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense.” ~Pablo Picasso


  1. Thanks Karen! I'm trying, in need of a good teacher! LOL Been wanting to play guitar since early teens when all my friends had them and we couldn't afford it. I'm 40 now, bought a starter set awhile back. I don't do well with the books though. My daughter was coaching me til I had to move back home (out of state) after my dad died. I WILL get it though. I swear! I am heavily inspired from the blues. Love your blogs, love your music. Peace, Tony

  2. Totally agree with the "sound of music" analogy. i always use that as an example with my students. everything starts with the major scale, i tell them. know it, live it, love it!

    i spent the ages from 19 to 30, basically trying to make it. got a record deal, played with famous artists etc., then told myself it wasn't to be. then went in a different direction other than music, almost gave up music completely, then reinvented myself as a musician and rededicated myself to my guitar. i started writing again and have a new zest for music at 42 yrs. old. the way i see it, i still have atleast 20-25 years left of guitar playing life, so i am going to college once again, at humber, to get myself the knowledge i need to be a top session player. and i have been playing guitar for almost 30 years now! it's never too late!

  3. LOVE THIS KAREN .. And I 100 % agree with what ya said~! Love to ya ~! ( thanks for writtin and sharing this, In the "world" I came outta was just full of "quit now, ya took too long and nothin happend~" and I always felt since the age of 5 "FUCK that ~ I only started~ and lots has HAPPEND..." They just can see that or understand it ...Life's my Jourany and I love my Sound Trax so Far~! I do what Moves me and that's that ~! Rock on ~! ( it moves me to see someone so encouging and insipring, I am so happy I cliked on that Stever Photo years ago, and love the connectin with people in the commuinty.. THe PlayGround Rocks ~! Scared or not, I can feel safe and be myself~! and made some meaning friends...been along time comin~!)..oh I also loved ya sayin about age to and so on...so ture~!...At any age anyone can learn~!