Are you too old to play music? No. You’re not. Well, I guess that’s it for this article. Thanks for stopping by!
Just kidding! Welcome back everyone! Today I had a thought. I want to share it with you. One of the questions I always get asked by adult student centers around their age. They always think that there’s a cutoff point. For some reason, our society tells us that there’s an age at which we can no longer learn to play music. I’m here to tell you, this is flat out wrong.
I think it may have something to do with the age old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. First of all, I recently taught my 13 year old beagle not to sleep on my daughter’s play mat. But aside from that, humans have a much greater capacity for knowledge acquisition. So don’t sell yourself short!
Today, I’m going to give you 3 reasons why you’re not too old to learn to play music.
1. Playing music keeps your mind young
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University studied older adults who took piano lessons and found that “their attention, memory and problem-solving abilities improved, along with their moods and quality of life.” This was a study specifically studied “seasoned citizens”. This means that if you’re reaching your “golden years”, this study was aimed directly at you!
One of the characteristics of youthfulness is a keen mind, being mentally sharp. Studies have found that playing music is basically a mental exercise. It’s like cross fit for your grey matter.
In fact, one Johns Hopkins otolaryngologist says, “If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout.”
So no matter your age, playing music on an instrument such as a violin or a piano can help you stay in the best mental shape possible.
2. Learning music helps your social skills
If you’re taking lessons face to face, you will be interacting with people on a regular basis. This is a good thing! One of the issues with aging is that we tend to get into our own personal shells and our own set routines. In other words, we start to close off our lives from the influence of others. This happens almost unintentionally. We stick to what we know.
Music breaks that routine. It forces us to go outside of our comfort zones in order to learn. What a great tool! This applies to us physically having to go to a different place, and mentally having to experience something new. Music forces us to learn how to navigate interaction with new people and new things, and this helps us become more social.
Even if you’re learning online, you’re still benefiting from hearing someone else’s voice and interacting with the video you’re watching or acting on the information you’ve learned from something you’ve read. Either way, playing music helps you find and meet new people!
3. Playing music promotes stress relief
Maybe you’re having a tough day. Maybe you’re dealing with a difficult situation in your life. Perhaps it’s tax season…yeah, that can make anyone stress out. Well, next time you feel the crunch, pick up your instrument. It has profound effects on how you deal with life’s difficulties!
Dr. Barry Bittman says that playing music is s stress reliever. This effect is so profound that it can reverse the effects of stress at the DNA level. Powerful! Additionally, it can help regulate your hormonal response to stress. Researchers found these effects happened after the participants of a study engaged in a an hour long drumming session. So, give in to the rhythm and get rid of stress!
My 91 year old violin student says you can
That’s right. I have a 91 year old violin student. She’s absolutely amazing. She’s been playing for four years and has already worked her way through three books. I want to tell you about her so you too can know that you have the ability and capacity to learn music.
She was interested in the violin when she was younger, but due to work and life, was never able to fulfill her dream of playing. Finally, she got to the point where she no longer wanted to put off the dream. She now enjoys playing the instrument she always wanted.
Countless times I’ve been addressed by people as young as middle aged and as seasoned as 91 years old and the prevailing theme is that folks believe there is an age at which they can no longer learn to play an instrument. I want to encourage you today. Learning to play an instrument is rewarding and satisfying. And you can do it!
I can guarantee that you will see the benefits that playing music has to offer, even at a ripe age. Don’t let a simple misconception like this stop you from enjoying an instrument. Take a chance and you might find yourself happier, sharper, and more youthful than you ever expected. Good luck!