Appalachian Music of Southwestern PA


Up in the Batten House
Up Jumped Joe in the Middle of It
Behind The Door

Why Should I Learn to Play Music?

If you knew tomorrow’s winning lottery numbers, you could become rich! But none of us can predict the future,… right? Well, not exactly. There are some things we can predict because they are bound to be that way, for example:

  1. All learning takes time
  2. Everyone gets older

Prediction: if you want to become skillful at something, you will be older by the time you attain that goal. Another way to think of this is, you could already be enjoying doing something well today if you started learning yesterday.

It’s unfortunate that so many people live out their lives without fully developing their potential talents. Ask yourself how many different things you can do with your hands. Most people know how to do a variety of manual chores, but are they very interesting? Do your hands work well together? Do you just push, pull and hold things (or drop them as the case may be), or do you use your fingers independently, performing tasks that challenge your limits? Do the results satisfy you, and are you proud to show off to others?

Good moves aren’t all about accurate location, but they must happen at the right time. Learning to play music is a great way to develop your hands by practicing finger positioning and timing, as well as expressive feeling. Hearing is exercised as well, and who doesn’t benefit from becoming a better listener? Finally learning music gives your short term memory a workout. It seems too good to be true, but all of these things will improve from playing music, and you’ll have fun at the same time!

Remember, all learning takes time. Don’t be put off if you can’t become a superstar in one afternoon. Musical ability, like any other skill exists as a continuous spectrum – you’ll proceed gradually as you build more advanced knowledge on top of basic techniques. The key is repetitive practice, with patience and sensibility. It’s true that children have an easier time learning than adults, but don’t make the mistake of saying it’s too late in life to start something new. If you do, you’ll be saying the same thing five years later, instead of gaining five years of experience. So, why should I learn to play music?

“Why not?”

For more information about learning to play Old Time Music, write to
or see our contact page. is based out of Pittsburgh, Pa.
All materials copyright © Mark Tamsula