Always wanted to learn to strum a guitar? Tickle the ivories? Join a band? It is not too late, no matter what stage you are in life. There is a common myth that missing out on learning to play music during childhood meant that it would not be possible later in life, according to the Wall Street Journal. But as many adults are proving, this is not the case.
In fact, the Journal notes, even if people start to play a musical instrument in their 50s they can play and improve for decades – and any type of instrument qualifies, including voice. The science backs this up.
A study published in the journal Aging & Mental Health set out to determine if individual piano instruction could help to mitigate normal age-related cognitive decline in older adults. The results suggested that learning to play piano might enhance executive functioning and working memory in this group.
Not only is it good for the brain and cognitive function, but also playing an instrument might have other physical health benefits. For example, the University of Michigan holds a weekly harmonica group for anyone with a lung condition to help improve breathing.
As one member of the group told the Michigan Medicine blog, in addition to making beautiful music together and improving their breathing, they also become a support network for one another as they play everything from “kumbaya” to the music of Johnny Cash.
And this is also could be the case for adults who join community choirs. A study published in The Journals of Gerontology found that joining a choir might reduce loneliness and increase interest in life among diverse older adults.
Not sure where to start? The New Horizons International Music Association is a non-profit organization that supports any adults that wants to make music in a non-intimidating environment, no matter the level of experience. Their website lists various bands and ensembles that can be found based on location.
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