Benefits of Learning an Instrument
When you picture the typical music student, you may envision a young child sitting nervously in front of a piano while receiving their lesson. While learning an instrument as a child is a good thing, learning or playing an instrument as a senior has even more benefits.
When you do an activity, like reading or writing, you use various areas in the brain, typically only a couple at a time. But, when you play an instrument, there tends to be a symphony of activity throughout the brain. This is due to the amount of processing that needs to happen in order for the instrument to be played. For example, when you play a guitar, your brain has to recall not only what the finger positions are for one hand, but also the strumming for the other hand. It also has to pull up information about what part of the song comes next, the rhythm, and more. The brain lights up with activity when playing an instrument.
This is also true with learning an instrument. In fact, it can be even more apparent due to the fact that the brain is trying extra hard to understand and perform the various tasks being asked of it. All of this brain activity and mental concentration is a very good way to stave off dementia and other related cognitive impairments. Keeping the brain sharp by any means helps with this, learning and playing instruments just happens to help a little bit more.
Music is very much as social an experience as it is a personal one. In the beginning, you’ll likely socialize with a music teacher who will show you the ropes and get you started on your journey. From there, you’ll likely want to show off you skills, or better yet, jam with some friends. Socialization has also been shown to help prevent or delay dementia.
Between the process of learning and then the socialization aspect, chances are, your self-esteem is going to improve. This can be a great thing for seniors, who typically have a lower self-esteem than other age groups.
Types of Instruments to Learn
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” This saying is complete nonsense. It’s actually been proven wrong in both the literal sense, and the figurative sense. Old dogs can indeed learn new tricks. Seniors are no different. Now that you’re interested in learning an instrument, which one will you choose?
- Guitar – This six-stringed instrument is highly recommended as an instrument to learn because of its simplicity and its availability. Guitars can be found in many stores for a relatively inexpensive price. In just a couple hours you can learn three chords that can be the foundation for hundreds of classic songs. This makes learning the guitar almost instantly rewarding. TIP: Start with an acoustic guitar. They’re cheap, widely available, and offer the best resistance for callouses. Yes, after playing guitar for a while your fingers will hurt. This will generally only last a week or two until callouses build up, then no more discomfort. So stick with it!
- Piano – This may be one of the most classic beginner instruments. This instrument can be quite easy to learn, as far as foundation goes, but quite difficult to master. Unlike the guitar, the piano does require a different setting. Generally pianos are too big to lug around from lesson to lesson, and can be too loud and big for a typical dwelling, there are options that can be obtained that could be beneficial. The portable keyboard can allow for practicing in the privacy of your own home and they’re relatively affordable. The experience may differ from a standard piano, however. This is due to the fact that keyboards are digital and pianos are acoustic.
- Drums – There may not be any instrument that can release the amount of stress quite like drums can. After all, you are essentially beating on a surface, albeit, in rhythm. As long as you have a sense of rhythm then you can play drums. There’s just a lot of hand/foot/eye coordination that has to happen for the right sound to be played at the right time. But, drums are relatively easy to learn. Of course, the problem with drums is two-fold. Typically drums are not cheap, and yes, they are loud. There is a work around, assuming you have the money to afford it: electric drums. New technology has made electric drums look, feel, and sound like real drums. In fact, electric drums can have multiple drum-kits sounds stored in the digital processor, or brain, so you can get a lot of different kits in one. The issue is they are not cheap. You may be able to find a small kit a few hundred dollars, but good kits can range in the multiple thousands of dollars. Another benefit of electric drums is the headphone jack. You can put headphones in and play like normal without disturbing a mouse! The act of drumming is also a workout for your arms and legs, so there’s another benefit.
Learning an instrument, or playing one, can be a wonderful way to spend some time. It’s rewarding no matter what you play, how you play, and who’s enjoying it. It’s beneficial to your brain, and your heart. If you don’t want to learn an instrument, listening to music is also beneficial to your health and wellbeing.
At Bonaventure Senior Living, we love music. We’re constantly having musicians perform at our communities and we encourage all of our residents to get up and dance like no one’s watching.
Bonaventure Senior Living
At Bonaventure Senior Living, we have Retirement Perfected, Living Perfected, and Dining Perfected. The best way to see for yourself is to Book-A-Tour today and discover how you can live life on your own terms. We specialize in Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care, that way, no matter what your current situation is, we have all levels of care covered if your needs ever change.
With Independent Living, we want you to enjoy Simplified Living, allowing you to have the freedom to do what makes you happy. Our Independent Living is designed to accommodate the exceptional senior lifestyle that you’ve earned. What’s even better, is that with Independent Living we offer whatever supportive services that you may need at any time you may need them. Now that’s Retirement Perfected.
Assisted Living at Bonaventure Senior Living is simple: all the lifestyle benefits of our Independent Living, but with any extra support that you may need. Our philosophy is based on three simple things: choice, independence, and dignity. Now that’s Assisted Living at its finest.
Every senior is a unique person, and our Memory Care approach is no different. We tailor our Memory Care by connecting with family members and taking time to understand each person’s specific circumstances. This includes mental, emotional, and physical health. Our Memory Care creates an honorable and professional plan to make sure that each person lives their life to the fullest. That’s the way Memory Care should be.
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