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Never Too Late: My Musical Life Story

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  139 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
“If I could learn to play the cello well, as I thought I could, I could show by my own example that we all have greater powers than we think; that whatever we want to learn or learn to do, we probably can learn; that our lives and our possibilities are not determined and fixed by what happened to us when we were little, or by what experts say we can or cannot do.”Best know ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 12th 1991 by Da Capo Press
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May 04, 2007 Consuela rated it it was amazing
Not sure how I found out about this book, but I have recommended it to many people. John Holt was an educator who taught and wrote books about how children learn, and how our educational system takes all the joy out of learning. He had no musical background, but in college sang with the glee club and then later decided to take up the flute. After making some progress, he decided to take up a much more difficult instrument, the cello. His book is about that journey and overcoming self-doubt and f ...more
Jen Marin
What a fabulous discussion on the nature of learning. As both an unschooler and an aspiring cellist, John Holt speaks volumes on how people really learn, and the true value and work of a good teacher. He even inspired me to learn more about classical music!
Jan 07, 2014 Peter rated it it was amazing
This book has been a life changer for me. I've owned a guitar for over 50 years, but have only really played for a portion of that, riding along in a rut for the rest of that time. A few years ago I realized I like to sing, and had begun to put the two together when I picked up this book.

Never Too Late is an amazing memoir of a man who dabbled in music in his youth, but then took up the cello in earnest in his 40s, and went on to become an accomplished musician.

Inspired by the book, I found a w
Jan 29, 2015 Nicholette rated it really liked it
Before starting this book, I didn't research the author at all, and when I eventually did realize he passed away many years ago, I was very disappointed. He seems like such a lovely person and offers up so many insightful and thoughtful observations about learning to play the cello. His book is as relevant today as it was when it was first published.

There are so many passages in the second half that I read and reread. He is able to put into words things that I have experienced during practice a
Anita Ashland
Nov 29, 2013 Anita Ashland rated it it was amazing
Even though the book is 121 pages too long, I give it 5 stars because this is the book that motivated me to begin learning the cello 12 years ago. It also introduced me to the Bach Cello Suites, for which I will always be grateful.

I played violin as a kid but ultimately it was the cello that I fell in love with. I figured it was too late to learn cello and kept playing violin through high school. I started learning how to play cello 12 years ago after I first read this book but then, because of
Jun 28, 2016 AP rated it liked it
His love of music and for learning infects the reader. I love what he undertakes-- learning to play guitar, flute, then cello as an adult, without formal music training. He teaches himself to read standard notation, trains his own ear by using familiar and favorite music as examples. Truly inspiring. This book can give hope to other adult music lovers without formal musical education, that they can learn to play musical instruments.

I truly wish that I had known about this book earlier in my life
May 19, 2012 Jim rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2012
Touted as a guide to learning as an adult written by educational writer John Holt about his learning the cello at age 40 it disappoints a bit on this front. It's more of an autobiographical look at his love and learning of music through his life. The adult learning info was valuable but could have fit in a pamphlet. Still an enjoyable read and I think someone who learns an instrument as an adult would related well to the book and enjoy it.
Nov 09, 2016 Philnotfil rated it really liked it
I stumbled across this as a music student in college. Introduced me to John Holt and changed my life forever (and I hate when people say that). If you want to learn something, go and learn it. This was my gateway drug that introduced me to the world of homeschooling and inspired me as a public school teacher (just because I work in the system doesn't mean I can't also work to change the system).
Liz Lee
Apr 28, 2013 Liz Lee rated it it was ok
Perhaps I just got a vibe that it is a little pompously written. He literally wrote about every little step of his life. But perhaps what is most important is that he set his mind to learn and he made time in his schedule, and life choices to do so. If only my students could really understand this. It doesn't have to be just music, but just a choice of what you commit to.
Jessie Jacobs
Oct 02, 2015 Jessie Jacobs rated it really liked it
Because cello. And adult beginners. Good to know I'm not alone on this crazy venture.
Jujhar Singh
Jan 27, 2016 Jujhar Singh rated it really liked it
Wow. Took me a while to get through but some great inspiration for my own teaching and learning
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After teaching in private schools for many years John Caldwell Holt wrote his first two books, How Children Fail, and How Children Learn. He became a vocal advocate for school reforms, and wrote several more books about education theory and practice, including alternative forms and many social issues relating to the education system. Eventually he decided school reform was impossible, and changed ...more
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