It’s not too late to learn a musical instrument or to renew an interest in a forgotten instrument. Joan, one of my 60+ students, loves to sing, but for a long time had considered playing piano to be out of reach.
“Never having taken piano lessons as a child, I always thought that placing two hands on the keyboard and making music had to be magic,” says Joan. “Later in life, I decided to learn the magic. I wanted to do something that I thought I could never do. Now when I put two hands on the keyboard and music comes out, I giggle with pleasure.”
The goal is to have fun while you develop skills, express yourself and play favorite pieces. Don’t begin lessons with pre-set expectations. Seek a teacher with a relaxed learning environment that enables you to progress at your own comfortable pace.
Research findings have shown vital health and wellness benefits of music. The Music Teachers National Association’s research found that adult piano students taking lessons once a week reported less anxiety, depression and loneliness than their counterparts who did not take music lessons. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that adults were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia with participation in a variety of leisure activities such as reading, games and playing an instrument. A finding in 2005 by Midori Koga of Michigan State University, found that HGH (Human Growth Hormone), which normally decreases rapidly as one ages, was found to increase by 90% in seniors taking piano lessons, giving them increased energy and stronger ability to fight off illness. The fine motor movement required to play an instrument can help individuals with arthritis keep joints and ligaments flexible and strengthen cartilage.
A 2000 Gallup survey by the International Music Products Association found that 85% of adults surveyed wished that they had learned to play a musical instrument. If playing an instrument is something you really want to do, then go for it! Follow your passion, let loose and have some fun. You won’t regret it… you’ll only regret not ever trying!
Right now can be an ideal time to begin music lessons or renew an interest in a forgotten instrument from your childhood. You have the patience and dedication and you have the wisdom to set your best pace for learning and practice. Instrument playing is a great way to reconnect with and express yourself creatively as well as stimulate your memory and mental clarity. People with busy schedules find “playing” breaks to be both relaxing and invigorating – enjoyable interludes in a hectic schedule. And if you are retired, having a set time every day to practice will bring back some structure and a sense of accomplishment to your day. If you take it one step further and get involved in a choral group, orchestra or band, it can be a wonderful opportunity to connect with others and be part of a group of like-minded people.
Benefits of Music Lessons
- Stay vibrant and mentally and physically active
- An outlet for creative expression
- Exercises the mind to keep it young – memory, concentration, physical coordination and powers of observation
- Good For Health – Enhances immune system, prevents disease, helps with arthritis
- Helps reduce stress and tension; boosts overall well-being
- Adds structure and discipline