Dear Mr. Friedland,
I returned to playing the clarinet 2 years ago after a 25 year hiatus. I have been training to take my grade 6 RCM practical. In your experience have you seen anyone start or re-start in middle age and achieve eome level of competance playing the clarinet.
Concerning your question concerning reaching “some level of confidence”, I would answer yes, unequivocally, it certainly is quite possible and probable that improvement can be made with anyone returning to the instrument after a period of time.(Please see entry: Coming Back to Clarinet, these pages.)
I have had many students who have been able to achieve improvement even to a considerable degree, depending upon from which particular point they resume, and why.
Many of my older students had slight impairments or other reasons for resuming the instrument, others were simply enamoured with the clarinet and wished to spend time studying with someone really experienced, and a professional; still others with impairments had such difficulties as dental problems either caused by lack of their own teeth perhaps, or even one person who had had a serious mishap in not having the return of sensation in her tongue after a dental appointment, that student really was a problem for me for there was no sensation in her tongue when she articulated.
But my students have always achieved improvement, and more they were able to love their music and their instrument in the way that they did when younger.
Finally, I must tell you that many if not all, so-called professional players return to their professors or teachers for re-inspiration and because an extra pair of ears can always be of help.
most sincerely, sf