What instrument can an old guy learn if the main goal is to write music?
At this old age I began, two years ago learning to write music. I write it using Sibelius and let the computer play it for me.I have been strongly recommended to learn to play an instrument. I have two connected questions.What instrument(s) would you recommend in my case. In my mind I imagine piano and violin are too difficult to begin this late. I suppose the instrument should at the same time be meaningful for music composition. My main purpose is to write music for me, but getting better at it is always good. Now, I don't exactly understand completely the process by which learning to play an instrument is so important for composing. I understand that knowing the sounds the different instruments can produce, the techniques to produce them, etc. is important. But I imagine that can be learned by listening to others play and reading about the techniques and listening to examples. So my second question is: Is is really that important to build the physical dexterity required to play an instrument for composing music? Or in other words. What aspects of knowing how to play an instrument are useful for composers that cannot be learned by seeing someone else play?
I was a theory/composition major when I went to college. When I applied, I didn't play an instrument at all. They encouraged (made me) learn piano. Piano is the single best instrument to use for composition as it entails all the other instruments. A basic understanding of piano can carry you a long way. Since college I continued playing and have made a very comfortable living touring the world. Also as a composer, the piano had aided me in film scoring and overall production. It allows you the freedom to communicate with other musicians better. Good luck to you!
Most composers learn to play the piano because you can play several lines at once. Oftentimes, compositions have several lines going at the same time and being able to play the piano can help you hear those lines.