As a musician myself, I have always been aware of the benefits that playing an instrument can bring to my mental health. However, I was surprised to learn that these benefits are not just limited to children or teenagers. In fact, it is never too late to start learning an instrument, and doing so as an adult can have numerous positive effects on our mental well-being. In this article, I will explore the benefits of learning an instrument as an adult, including its impact on mental health and cognitive function, as well as its social benefits.
Benefits of learning an instrument as an adult
There are many reasons why adults might decide to learn an instrument. Perhaps they have always wanted to play but never had the opportunity or the time. Or maybe they are looking for a new hobby to fill their free time. Whatever the reason, learning an instrument as an adult has numerous benefits.
Firstly, learning an instrument can be a great stress reliever. Playing music requires concentration and focus, which can help take our minds off our worries and problems. In fact, studies have shown that playing music can lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies.
Secondly, learning an instrument can boost our self-esteem and confidence. As adults, we often feel like we are stuck in our ways and unable to learn new skills. However, by taking up an instrument, we are challenging ourselves and proving that we are capable of learning something new. This sense of achievement can be incredibly empowering and help us feel more positive about ourselves in other areas of our lives.
Finally, learning an instrument can be a great way to meet new people and make friends. Playing music with others is a social activity that can help us feel more connected to others and less isolated. This is particularly important for adults who may have retired or experienced other life changes that have affected their social networks.
The impact of music on mental health
The benefits of learning an instrument as an adult are not just limited to stress relief and social connection. Music has been shown to have a positive effect on our mental health in a number of ways.
For example, listening to music can be a powerful mood booster. It can help us feel more energized and motivated, or calm and relaxed, depending on the type of music we choose. This is because music has the ability to affect our emotions and trigger the release of feel-good chemicals in our brains, such as dopamine and serotonin.
Playing an instrument can have an even greater impact on our mental health. In fact, studies have shown that playing music can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is because playing an instrument requires us to focus on the present moment, which can help us feel more grounded and less overwhelmed by negative thoughts and feelings.
How learning an instrument can improve cognitive function
The benefits of learning an instrument as an adult are not just limited to our mental health. Playing music can also have a positive effect on our cognitive function.
For example, learning an instrument requires us to use both sides of our brain, which can help improve our memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. It can also help us develop our ability to multitask, as we need to coordinate our fingers, read music, and listen to what we are playing all at the same time.
In fact, studies have shown that playing an instrument can have a positive effect on our overall intelligence. This is because it helps develop the parts of our brain that are responsible for spatial reasoning, language, and creativity.
Social benefits of playing music for adults
As I mentioned earlier, playing an instrument can be a great way to meet new people and make friends. But the social benefits of playing music as an adult go beyond just making connections with others.
Playing music with others requires us to work together as a team and communicate effectively. This can help us develop important social and emotional skills, such as empathy, cooperation, and patience. It can also help us feel more connected to our communities and give us a sense of purpose and belonging.
How to get started learning an instrument
If you are interested in learning an instrument as an adult, there are many options available to you. You can take private lessons, join a music class or workshop, or even teach yourself using online resources.
When choosing an instrument to learn, it is important to pick something that you are passionate about and that suits your lifestyle. For example, if you have limited space and time, you might want to choose a smaller instrument like the ukulele or harmonica. Or if you are interested in classical music, you might want to choose a more traditional instrument like the piano or violin.
Overcoming challenges in learning an instrument
Learning an instrument as an adult can be challenging, but it is important to remember that it is never too late to start. The key is to be patient with yourself and to practice regularly.
One of the biggest challenges that adults face when learning an instrument is finding the time to practice. However, by incorporating practice into your daily routine, you can make it a habit and ensure that you are making progress.
Another challenge is staying motivated when progress feels slow. It is important to set realistic goals and to celebrate small achievements along the way. You can also find motivation by playing music with others and sharing your progress with friends and family.
Finding community through music
Playing music with others is one of the best ways to stay motivated and make progress in your learning. It can also be a great way to find community and make new friends.
There are many ways to find other musicians to play with, such as joining a local music group or attending open jam sessions. You can also use social media to connect with other musicians in your area or find online communities where you can share your progress and get feedback from others.
The importance of continuing to practice
Learning an instrument as an adult is a lifelong journey, and it is important to continue practicing and challenging yourself as you progress. By continuing to learn new songs and techniques, you can keep your brain active and continue to reap the benefits of playing music.
It is also important to remember that playing music is not just about achieving a certain level of skill or mastery. It is about the joy of making music and the sense of connection and community that it can bring.
Learning an instrument as an adult is a rewarding and enriching experience that can have numerous positive effects on our mental health and well-being. By challenging ourselves and engaging with music, we can reduce stress, boost our self-esteem, and develop important cognitive and social skills. So why not take the plunge and start learning an instrument today? You never know where it might take you.