When is the best time to learn an instrument? 50 years ago. When is the second best time to learn an instrument? Right now!
Perhaps you may feel as if you’ve missed the boat on the musical scene, but as you enjoy the extra time and freedom of retirement, you might be surprised to discover that picking up this new skill is not only ideal for your age group, but in certain aspects, can be even better! Don’t believe it? Read on.
1. You Are Already a Musical Encyclopedia
One advantage the older generations have over the younger ones, is that you’ve heard countless forms of music come and go, filling your memory with decades of different songs and styles. This knowledge alone will help you recognize certain chord structures and natural melodic flows, much better than a child who’s recently picked up the same instrument as you.
2. You Already Have the Discipline
Even if you believe that you don’t hold a musical bone in your body, you have still spent many professional years training yourself in problem solving and connecting life’s dots. Your brain is already hardwired to find the best approach at tackling obstacles, and unlike children, you are well-versed in the “practice makes perfect” methodology.
3. You Can Digest Concepts Easier
Music is all about the rules of sound, and the older you get, the easier you can delve into and analyze the abstracts behind the artform. Children may pick up skills much faster, but they have a tendency to learn in parrot fashion, whilst seniors have additional patience and curiosity to truly unravel the mysteries behind these scales and chords, which can become more valuable in the long run.
4. You’ll Enjoy The Learning Process4. You’ll Enjoy The Learning Process
For some people, they only wish their parents had forced them to learn an instrument when they were younger. But you must remember that a large majority of young people unwillingly pushed towards a musical pastime, ended up loathing this after school activity, and tend to remember it as a time of labor rather than pleasure. Adults who pick up an instrument do so because they want to, and play music for music’s sake, finally fulfilling an interest that they had fantasized about their whole lives.
5. You’ll Relieve Stress
Playing an instrument not only gently removes you from reality, but has also been shown to improve your overall mood and sleep patterns, which works wonders for your stress levels and general mental health. As anyone can attest to, even just listening to the right music can calm you down whilst massaging any depression into a higher place of euphoria. So why not make some music of your own?
6. You’ll Exercise Your Body
Ask a drummer and they will tell you: percussion performances are the same as a full body workout! Then there are wind instruments, which teach you how to breath properly and help expand your lungs, whilst the guitar is great for finger exercises. Just don’t forget to warm up and research how to strengthen your hand for maximum virtuoso results.
7. You’ll Exercise Your Brain
Like learning any new skill, playing music will challenge your mind to stay sharp and alert, which has been shown to increase your memory functions, and as a result, ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also heightens your audio perception, as if training your nervous system to pay better attention to the world around you.
8. You’ll Avoid Boredom
One of the primary reasons most people tend to seek out fresh hobbies in their retirement years, is to escape the tedious monotony of no longer having as much work to do. Picking up a new instrument skill is one of the best known methods of passing the time, by filling your house with the relaxing sounds of music, whilst progressing your art further with each and every practice.
9. You’ll Build Self-Esteem
Spending hours in front of your TV may be what you imagined retirement to be like, but this dull behavior can destroy your confidence, as you end each day with nothing of any value to show for it. Learning an instrument will not only grant your life additional meaning, but you can also accomplish it without even leaving the house if you don’t want to.
10. You’ll Improve Social Interaction
Depending on your approach, you can even use your newfound passion to meet people. From visiting a tutor, to participating in group lessons, to having a topic of mutual interest with other musicians... there is no end to the links within the musical community. And who knows? Maybe you’ll even be performing with your band at next year's big social event! One step at a time.