But increasingly, adults are embracing musicianship much later in life. Some have finally found the time after their working days and child-rearing years are over. Some are catching on to studies showing the important health benefits of playing music. Many describe it as scratching an itch they’ve had all their lives. And while some are happy to get to the point of playing “Happy Birthday” for their grandchildren, others achieve a level of success that allows them to join ensembles and even earn money playing.
Research shows that music stimulates the brain and enhances memory in older people. In one study, adults aged 60 to 85 without previous musical experience showed improved verbal fluency and processing speed after just a few months of weekly piano lessons.
If you’ve never played an instrument before and would like to try your hand at music, you really have to let your intuition be your guide and select the instrument you most want to play. Each family of instruments - voice, guitar, drums, piano, string or wind instruments can be enjoyable for the adult beginner.
Keep in mind, adding music to your busy schedule can be a bit challenging at first but once you get started you need to schedule regular time and effort to see results, just like exercise. Don’t be discouraged by any challenges you face in the beginning. For instance, you’ve always wanted to sing, but everyone told you that you didn’t sound good. You’re too shy to sing in front of people. You feel like you would join a chorus or choir but you wouldn’t know how to fit in. You think that some people were just born to sing and you weren’t one of them. You don’t have to have innate talent. The voice can be one of the most satisfying instruments for the adult student to learn and no purchase is necessary, it is inside of you already. Skills such as learning breath control, enunciation, pitch, and many other concepts can be learned with regular guidance from a teacher that can provide a space for you to try out your voice and learn how to control it.
You don’t need a tremendous investment of time to learn to play an instrument. You just need frequent time. If you can grab a musical instrument or simply use your voice to sing once a day, you will soon discover how good music can make you feel and how much positive energy it can bring to you and those around you.
Is there an instrument you’ve always wanted to play? We’d love to hear your story.