Music Lessons & Repairs

Instruction offered for:
Voice - Guitar - Piano - Drums - Bass
Banjo - Mandolin - Violin - Cello - Ukulele

All Levels - All Ages


Robert "RC" Chandler

  • Guitar

  • Drums

  • Banjo

  • Mandolin

  • Ukulele

  • Voice

  • Jazz Theory

  • Violin

  • Cello

  • Bass

  • Piano

  • Music Theory

  • Improvisation

Performing professionally since 1965

Robert Chandler, “R.C.” began his career as a percussionist in symphonies and concert bands in Southeastern Massachusetts. At the age of 13, RC began performing on drums and vibraphone with jazz ensembles from the South Shore to Rhode Island. From the late 60s through the 70s he was a regular pit orchestra member for a majority of musical productions throughout Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island and performed as a supporting musician for many of the soloist singers/performers at the Melody Tent on Cape Cod and the former Warwick Music Theater in Rhode Island.

Since the 1980s, RC has performed on banjo, mandolin, dobro and guitar for many area Bluegrass and Folk performers both in concert and the recording studio. Currently, he is the lead vocalist/guitarist with his bands; Daddy-O! and Blues Alley. RC has also recorded 7 albums and written dozens of songs in many genres. A new project, named Torch Song, as a vocal/guitar duo performing Jazz Standards is in the works as well.

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Am I Too Old to Learn Guitar?

Is My Child Old Enough to Learn Guitar?

6 Great Instruments to Try Later in Life

You’re never too old to learn to play music

By Robin L. Flanigan,
Published July 26, 2023

Do you wish you’d learned to play a musical instrument when you were younger?​ ​There’s no such as thing as “too late” when it comes to picking up an instrument, and learning to strum, tweet or keep the beat is likely to pay dividends when it comes to health. ​

Studies, including a 2020 report from the AARP-founded Global Council on Brain Health, have shown that musical activity can improve memory and mood in older adults. ​ ​

And older adults have an advantage when it comes to learning a new instrument, says Molly Webb, founder and creative director of The Inside Voice, a music academy based in Orange County, California.​ ​

​​Practice Makes Perfect

​One of the main strategies for mastering a musical instrument is to practice. Here’s some other advice from three music teachers for those just taking up an instrument.​ ​

  • “Keep in mind that it’s better to practice for 5 to 10 minutes every day than to start off guns ablaze with an epic three-hour session that leaves you burned out for the rest of the week and feeling like you can’t be bothered to [practice] again for several days,” says John Atkins, who goes by “The Ukulele Teacher” on his YouTube channel and podcast, Ukulele Tales.​ ​
  • Because of the way our brains are wired, “it’s much more effective to build long-term memory in shorter, more frequent bursts,” says Molly Webb, founder and president of The Inside Voice, a music academy based in Orange County, California. “It’s like when you start an exercise routine. If you’ve never run before, you start with short sessions and not with a one-time marathon — or you’ll probably end up skipping the marathon and going out to breakfast.”​ ​
  • Don’t be afraid, says Alexis Baker, a music therapist who works exclusively with older adults in Portland, Oregon: “Anything new is a little intimidating at first because it’s unknown, so just give yourself some time and have fun.”​ ​

They take lessons “because they want to … not because they have a parent dragging them or because they feel like it’s something they need for their college application,” Webb says.​ ​

In addition, older adults’ years of experience can help them recognize patterns more easily. “They tend to have a lot of hooks for learning that the younger crowd takes a little longer to develop,” she says. ​ ​

So even if you’ve never picked up a musical instrument before, here are six musical options that musicians and teachers say are great for beginners:​ ​

1. Strum the guitar​ ​

Alexis Baker, a music therapist who specializes in working with older adults in Portland, Oregon, says she’s biased toward the guitar, her main instrument.​ ​

“It’s portable, great for dexterity and you can get started playing lots of different songs by learning two or three chords,” she explains.​ ​

There are many ways to get acquainted with the six-string instrument (or any instrument): Hire a teacher, seek out an online program or look up instructional videos on YouTube.​ ​

“You can be fairly successful learning the guitar on your own,” Baker says.​ ​

2. Pick up the ukulele​ ​

Like the guitar, you can play thousands of songs with four basic chords, but the ukulele has softer, nylon strings, a smaller fretboard and only four strings rather than six — making them easier to memorize, says John Atkins, who goes by “The Ukulele Teacher” on his YouTube channel and podcast, Ukulele Tales.​ ​

“You can get a good sound from a ukulele straight away, just by strumming the four open strings,” adds Atkins, who is based in the United Kingdom.​ ​

Because the ukulele has fewer strings, it’s much less painful building callouses on your fingers than on an acoustic guitar, notes Webb. “And some of the chords, like C and A minor, require only one finger.”​ ​

3. Play the piano​ ​

Great for hand-eye coordination, the piano is the instrument people most commonly tell Baker they’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t gotten around to doing so.​ ​

“You can start out very simply, with just one hand, then you can gradually increase the complexity to both hands — with each one doing a different thing,” Baker says. ​ ​

The piano’s 88 keys may look overwhelming, but there are only 12 keys that get repeated over and over again.​ ​

“Once you learn those 12 keys, then you’ve learned the whole keyboard,” Baker says. “You can get comfortable pretty quickly.”​ ​

Joy Underhill, 66, a retired business writer from Farmington, New York, began piano lessons at 62. She has embraced the step-by-step structure of learning triads and inversions on the 70-year-old piano she inherited from her aunt — and the patience required in doing so.​ ​

“I’m not playing at lightning speed and I likely never will, and that’s OK,” she says. “The piano gives me a goal that’s never reached. It’s great for the brain because it requires playing with 10 fingers, reading music, interpreting the music … there’s a lot going on there. But when you do it well, it’s like a little switch turns on. I love when that happens,” Underhill says.​ ​

4. Blow on the harmonica​ ​

Unlike most instruments, the harmonica is designed to play in one key.​ ​

“Someone playing a standard instrument has landmines of wrong notes all around them, whereas the harmonica has only the ‘right notes,’ ” says Grammy-nominated blues harmonica player David Barrett, founder of School of the Blues in San Jose, California.​ ​

It takes very little breath to inhale and exhale softly over the instrument’s holes — a technique called the tongue block embouchure. As Barrett describes it, your mouth surrounds four holes while you block the three holes to the left with your tongue, leaving a single note on the right to play one note. Achieving a clean, single note is a key element in many styles of music played on the harmonica.​ ​

The next step is exploring taking your tongue on and off for chordal effect.​ ​

“Resist the urge to just pucker up and blow on the harmonica, like blowing out a candle with pursed lips,” says Barrett, who teaches, judges and performs at harmonica events around the world.​ ​

By using the tongue block embouchure from the beginning, “you’re setting yourself up with a good foundation for interesting effects down the road.”​ ​

5. Hit some percussion​ ​

You don’t really need any experience to play a hand drum or tambourine, says Baker. ​ ​

“If you have a natural sense of rhythm, then either would be a good fit,” she says. “You might even see yourself as a more creative person as you start to express yourself through music.”​ ​

For drums, she suggests trying the bongos, a conga or the djembe — a West African, rope-tuned goblet drum.​ ​

6. Use your voice​ ​

Research out of Northwestern University published in a 2015 issue of the journal Music Perception found that the ability to sing on key may have more in common with the kind of practice that goes into playing an instrument than people realize.​ ​

“As humans, we really were born to sing, but sadly many adults grew up with the belief that they couldn’t sing or that they were tone-deaf,” says Webb. “I’ve never run into anyone at any age who doesn’t learn to match pitch and improve their tone if they stick with it long enough.”​ ​

Deciding on your voice as an instrument is a good investment for other reasons as well.​ ​

“There’s no cost to purchase, and you can get started with it right away,” says Baker. “It’s always with you wherever you go, and there are a lot of different ways it can be used.”​​​

Robin L. Flanigan is a contributing writer who covers mental health, education and human-interest stories for several national publications.

Expert Repairs on most Stringed & Percussion Instruments

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Learning Music After Age 50

Never played or sang? No problem. Learning as an adult can bring joy — and stimulate your brain
by Kim Painter
Updated September 28, 2022

Roy Ernst remembers the first few times he conducted an orchestra full of novice adult musicians.
“When we played a piece that was recognizable, people were like, ‘Oh, my goodness, they are really good,’ ” says Ernst, a professor emeritus of music education at the University of Rochester in New York. “One advantage we had was that expectations were so low.”

It’s not just audience members who are skeptical when adult beginners take the stage. Would-be singers and musicians often face their own doubts.

“We often think about people participating in music only if they’ve done it earlier in life,” says Julene Johnson, associate director of the University of California, San Francisco, Institute for Health & Aging. “It’s a little bit of myth that people later in life can’t do it.”

Not only can we do it, we probably should do it: Making music is a good brain-stimulating activity at any age, according to a report on music and the brain from the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH).
“We now have a number of studies suggesting that engaging in music late in life is not only good for your brain but good for your social and emotional well-being,” says Johnson, who was among the experts who wrote the report.

In a study led by Johnson, older adults — many with no musical experience — joined choirs at senior centers. After six months, the singers felt less lonely and more engaged in life. And while the singers did not show improvements in thinking skills, other studies point to cognitive benefits. Researchers at the University of South Florida found improvements in mental processing speed, verbal fluency and other cognitive measures among adults ages 60 to 85 who took piano lessons over several months. In those studies, people were instructed to practice a minimum of three hours per week  — which means the dose of music learning may have been higher for the piano players than for the weekly singers in her study, Johnson says
Go to Music and Brain Health to learn more about how music can trigger memories, lift your mood and more.

Music lessons belong on the long list of learning experiences likely to bolster brain health, says neuroscientist and musician Daniel Levitin, another contributor to the GCBH report.

“Your willingness to try new things and be open to new experiences,” whether it’s making music, taking language lessons or tackling new puzzles and books, is a key to healthy aging, says Levitin, a professor emeritus at McGill University in Canada and founding dean of arts and humanities at the Minerva Schools at the Keck Graduate Institute in San Francisco. Such experiences matter because our brains make new connections throughout life, he says.

Levitin’s own grandmother learned to play an electronic keyboard at age 80 and played every day until she was 96. “She didn’t become a concert pianist, but that doesn’t matter,” he says.

Solo lessons and practice are beneficial, but playing or singing in time with a group is an especially rich experience, says Ernst, the conductor who works with novice older musicians. Ernst is the founder of New Horizons, an organization of community bands and orchestras that teach members of any age to play. New Horizons groups are in nearly 200 communities in the United States, Canada and elsewhere, he says.
Community choirs also are widespread and especially accessible since you don’t need to rent or buy an instrument. Yet the biggest obstacle for many adult learners is not the cost of a guitar, but overcoming the idea that they’ll never be good enough. Ernst hears the same childhood stories again and again: “My father said I had no talent … my music teacher told me to move my lips but not to sing.” Those lingering insecurities are irrelevant, he says. “I can tell you that the success rate is pretty close to 100 percent,” Ernst says. “By success, I mean being able to play at a level that brings a lot of satisfaction.”

Learn more about the research in this article

• “Music on Our Minds: The Rich Potential of Music to Promote Brain Health and Mental Well-Being,” Global Council on Brain Health, June 2020. Read the full report.
• “A Community Choir Intervention to Promote Well-Being Among Diverse Older Adults: Results From the Community of Voices Trial,” The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, November 2018. This study followed 390 adults (average age 71) in 12 senior centers across San Francisco to determine whether participating in a choir can help improve cognitive skills, social and emotional well-being, and physical health. Compared with the control group, those who participated in a choir reported less loneliness and a greater interest in life. There were no significant differences in cognitive or physical health between the groups, however. Read the full study.
• “Efficacy of a short-term intense piano training program for cognitive aging: A pilot study,” Musicae Scientiae: Journal of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, May 2017. For this preliminary study involving 34 older adults (ages 60–85) with little to no music training, researchers explored whether a short, intense piano training program may improve cognitive functioning. Participants showed improved “verbal fluency” (the ability to recall words) and mental processing speed. Limitations: Pilot studies are small in scale and typically designed to test the feasibility of larger-scale studies. Read a summary of the study. (A fee is required to access the full study.)