Last updated on December 15th, 2021
Music has a strange power over us. It can affect our emotions, bring back memories, or even remind us of loved ones. Music can get us dancing or calm us down. It can bring people together in the thousands at festivals or help cheer us up when we’re alone. Learning music later in life means connecting to that awesome power – and maybe even meeting other people who enjoy the same types of music as you do. Here are some compelling reasons why you should learn an instrument as an adult – and why it’s never too late to do so.
The Joy of Music
Being an adult is full of boring things you have to do – your taxes, paying bills, taking the trash out. Ensuring you have moments of joy in your life is absolutely essential for good mental health and overall wellbeing. Science can’t yet give us the secrets to happiness. But we do know that happier people are the ones that regularly do things that make them happy. This could be reading a favorite book every day, spending time with the kids – or playing a musical instrument. Learning a new skill or improving an old one gives you a sense of achievement. It improves your self-confidence and boosts your self-esteem. Most importantly, it allows you the joy of creating something beautiful you can enjoy every day of your life.
A Social Endeavor
As well as enjoying playing music on your own, music is something that’s incredibly shareable. Learning music later in life opens the door into a whole new social circle, one where you can meet other musicians wanting to jam, create bands, or just hang out and share song ideas. Face-to-face tuition has additional benefits as you can form a good working relationship with a talented music teacher, and they may know a lot about the local music scene. You may want to connect with others who want to learn (hint: Muze can help you meet such people). Connecting over music is very special and creates lifelong bonds. If you decide you want to play publicly, music can help you connect to your community as you get to know local venue owners or event organizers.
Keep Your Brain Healthy
It’s no secret that you use both your body and your brain to play any musical instrument. But did you know that playing music is actually good for your brain? As well as helping you fine-tune your motor control, music could increase cognitive ability and positively affect your memory. Studies show that adults who learn a musical instrument have visible changes in the brain. Music could even help offset the negative effects of certain types of dementia. As you become more confident with your instrument, you may find that you start to compose your own tunes. Being creative is a natural way to maintain your brain health, and also boosts your mental health by giving you achievements you can take pride in.
As well as keeping your brain happy and healthy, most forms of music keep your body healthy. Carrying your instrument to your teacher’s place of work or to gigs or jam sessions improves your overall fitness – although this depends on whether you decide to play the guitar or the Irish whistle! Using your fingers keeps them agile and could prevent joint issues, while wind instruments help keep your lungs healthy and even increase facial muscle tone.
Another key benefit to learning music later in life is that it’s a genuine stress beater. Learning to play a musical instrument makes your brain release a chemical called dopamine, a “feel good” chemical associated with rewards and achieving goals. Simply listening to your favorite music could boost your dopamine levels by up to 9%, but when you play a musical instrument, you add into that mix the fact that you are constantly learning, improving, and making small achievements. This boosts your dopamine production and naturally reduces stress by rebalancing the chemicals in the brain. And so this can prevent chemicals associated with stress, such as cortisol, from having such a profound effect. The bottom line is, when you get home from work after a hard day, sitting at the piano or picking up your guitar or djembe is a sure-fire way to let go of the day’s stresses.
It’s never too late to pick up a musical instrument. Whether you’ve always been fascinated by the guitar, or played piano as a kid but have forgotten the basics, there’s an instrument that’s just right for you – and a teacher waiting to teach you. Get in touch with music teachers in your local area. You might be surprised how many are ready and willing to teach older students who they know will be more dedicated and willing to put in the time and practice.
Once you get comfortable with your instrument, join us on Muze and match up with compatible musicians to jam, form a band, and have fun! On Muze, we use a smart matching algorithm so you are meeting the best people for you. You can find people with the same experience, age, music tastes, availability, and other factors right away.