If you’ve recently made the leap into full-time retirement, you may be finding yourself with a lot of extra time on your hands. There are plenty of ways to fill that time, from book clubs to board games and painting to yoga.
But if you’re interested in taking up a hobby that will enhance your mind and body, that can be enjoyed on your own, and that can open doors to new friendships, you just may want to consider learning to play an instrument.
Maybe you’re thinking that retirement is much too late in life to learn an instrument. That ship has sailed, right?
Well, think again! Studies show that there are bountiful benefits to learning new musical skills during your retirement. In fact, retirement may be the best time to study a new instrument.
Check out our top 5 reasons why you should learn to play an instrument in your golden years:
1. It will keep you mentally active and help you stay sharp.
Learning to play a musical instrument is one of the best mental workouts available. The act of learning stimulates an area of the brain that’s involved with memory and concentration, putting you on the winning side of the “use it or lose it” dilemma.
Not to mention, taking part in cognitively challenging activities is proven to have a positive effect on warding off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
2. You will reap a variety of physical health benefits.
Learning a new instrument isn’t just good for your mind, it’s good for your body, too.
Research from the Making Music and Wellness Project suggests that playing an instrument can increase coordination and slow certain aging conditions, such as osteoporosis and loss of muscle mass. These conditions occur when levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) get too low. In this study, blood tests indicated a 90% increase in levels of HGH in seniors who were given keyboard lessons, meaning they experienced a decrease in their risk of muscle and bone loss.
3. Making music is therapeutic.
Have you ever noticed that listening to music can lift your spirits, calm you down and improve your mood? According to researchers, those positive effects are amplified when you’re the one creating those soothing melodies.
Sitting down with an instrument to create music is a great way to blow off steam, release stress, express yourself, and spend time reflecting. The Making Music and Wellness Project also concluded that learning to make music can help retirees overcome depression and anxiety.
4. It will make you happier.
Making music has intrinsic value – meaning that people enjoy doing it simply for the sake of doing it, and not as a means for achieving any specific end result. When we take part in an activity that has intrinsic value, we experience instant satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness.
Not only is making music incredibly fun, but you’ll feel great about yourself as you notice your musical abilities improving over time.
5. You’ll find new ways to connect with others.
Who says that learning an instrument has to be a solo act? By taking the leap into music-making, you’ll be exposed to a whole new set of opportunities to build relationships and connect with others. You can invite friends and family members to play with you, or you can put your skills to use by performing in community events.
If you have grandchildren, learning an instrument will provide you with yet another chance to bond with them. You can teach them what you know, or even take lessons together!
Whether you’re interested in learning to play an instrument for the health benefits or just for the simple joy of it, you’ll certainly enjoy many benefits that will enrich your retirement experience.
Would you consider learning to play an instrument during your retirement? Which instrument would you like to play? Tell your story in the comments below!
Looking for a place to become part of a community and make some lasting friendships with like-minded people in similar life circumstances? Join Musical U today! Connect with an encouraging group of musicians who will keep you engaged at every age.