How would you like to do something enjoyable that also happens to improve your emotional, mental and physical well-being? Then perhaps you should learn to play an instrument. Many people who have never picked up an instrument before, think that it's too late to learn one as an adult. However, that simply isn't true. And with today's increasing lifespans, learning an instrument later in life could leave you with a hobby to enjoy for decades to come. It may seem daunting, but here are just some of the benefits - they may give you that extra push you need to give it a try. You can also check out this article for a quick guide on the "History Of Music."
In addition, studies have proven that music improves the memory of Alzheimer's and dementia patients. And if you haven’t heard, it’s estimated that 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer's, and nearly one in two people who reach the age of 85 will get it.
A study from Baycrest Health Sciences set out to determine why playing an instrument helps with age-related cognitive declines and the results were impressive. They discovered that listening and hearing skills can be improved over a short time while playing an instrument because of the way brain waves are altered. "This study was the first time we saw direct changes in the brain after one session, demonstrating that the action of creating music leads to a strong change in brain activity."
If you’re convinced, and plan on picking up a new instrument, we recommend the piano. The piano is one of the easier instruments for adults to learn, especially in comparison to the guitar. The thought of playing with two hands may seem daunting at first, but the notes are laid out right in front of you and the notes repeat in the same pattern across all the keys. More importantly, we found research in the Hearing Journal that proved adults aged 60-85 years old (with no previous music experience), displayed improved memory and processing speed after just three months of weekly piano lessons. Participants in this study participated in one 30-minute lesson and an additional three hours of practice each week.
Not everyone has the budget (or space) for a large piano, so as an alternative, we suggest the inexpensive and very portable ukulele. With two less strings than a guitar, it’s a much easier instrument to learn and a great introduction to the more advanced guitar. And speaking of budget, you no longer have to pay for expensive lessons- you can find a plethora of free and excellent lessons for any instrument right on YouTube!
And an advantage of learning music later in life rather than as a child? You may have more patience during the process!