Addendum to the Royal Hawaiian Band feature story

Many may feel that it’s somehow “too late” and that there is some sort of an expiration date for starting to learn an instrument. Both Royal Hawaiian Bandmaster Clarke Bright and Eric Kop, assistant administrator and principal horn, emphasize that it is never too late to get into music, in whatever form it takes. Eric, for one, has calabash aunties and uncles who never played an instrument in their lives, but are now in retirement attending ‘ukulele classes and singing in various groups for enjoyment. “It’s brought satisfaction for them in ways that they didn’t even realize until they started doing it. Whether you do it as a hobby or as a profession — again, music is an emotional language, so if you’re able to tap into that language, it really connects to so many aspects of living a full life. So, if anybody has any inkling at all, I would say the most important thing is to not be afraid to try.”

Additionally, for those who have difficulty with playing an instrument, whether due to mobility, being busy or for other reasons, some may feel that simply enjoying music does not involve them at all. But, if music is a language like Eric says, language and conversation require two parties to be complete. Clarke reflects on this sentiment further. “Even if you don’t think you can, at least be part of the listening environment of music, and that will allow you to be able to feel what music can do. Not everyone can create it, but if you can listen to it, you are really part of music, because it doesn’t make sense for us to play music if nobody is there. We can work on our craft in practice rooms — which we all have done — and we can rehearse for ourselves, but when we share that with others, that becomes the revolving door that really makes music something I think seniors, especially, should be a part of. Never shy away from that.”