21 December, 2020
Learning is a continuous process, and age is no bar for picking up any new skill. The pandemic, which forced almost the whole world to stay indoors, which resulted in many people picking up many new skills, is testimony to this. It wasn’t just the kids, but people across all age groups sought and learned some new skills. While some learnt cooking, few took to painting and a few others tried gardening, arts and crafts and so on.
A rare few though also chose to pick up musical instruments; if this sets you on an ‘I am too old to learn a musical instrument’ train of thought, you are absolutely wrong, of course! Almost anyone can pick up most of the musical instruments even after the age of 60. All you need is the right inclination to do so, and interest to make it count. There are many musical instruments like the piano, guitar, harmonica, tambourine, drums, flute, etc. which can be picked up easily. These days, online classes are also available for learning most of these musical instruments.
But, if you are wondering why one should learn a musical instrument after 60 years, then you may be in for a surprise. The amazing health benefits gained from this may well prove to be the right step, to tide over the isolation and anxiety. Besides, you may discover that you are too good at it, and may even kick start a new passion or a career!
Stimulates the brain
We are well aware that our body needs regular exercise to sustain itself healthily. In the same way, most activities that we indulge in also provide some exercise to our brain, to keep it active and functioning well. However, while most activities trigger certain parts of the brain, it is said no other activity provides a complete exercise to our brain as playing a musical instrument does.
Even though just listening to music engages our brain positively, neuroscientists have found out that playing an instrument is equivalent to a full-body workout. It strengthens many aspects of our personality, especially fine motor skills, requires the involvement of both the hemispheres of our brain. This is enough to keep our brains sharp for many years to come.
Improved social interaction
Music does transcend all boundaries set by humans; playing an instrument may well bring us into contact with many others who are doing the same. We may become part of groups that discuss various aspects of the same, share notes, play together, coordinate and create some videos and so on. You could become part of a musical band (that long lost dream coming true), or join a music club, or even start a band with your family as well. The involvement can be seen and felt at all levels, thus providing an improved social life and wellbeing.
When you pick up a new skill and are able to do it even reasonably well, it gives you a great sense of confidence and boosts your self-confidence. Each new note that you play, will be a step in the right direction. You could become a motivator to many others who may be shying away from trying. There is a great amount of satisfaction in what you have achieved; this would keep you in an improved mood overall. This would also translate into improved health, as mental wellbeing does affect our physical health.
We are well aware that any hobby can be a great stress buster; music, more so, as even listening to music helps. Music therapy is gaining popularity across the world. There are many who just ‘switch off’ from the world, by turning on music to beat stress. Playing an instrument can help immensely in relieving stress and beating anxiety and staying fit mentally.
With so much going for it, perhaps, it’s time to play some music for the Christmas and the New Year party. While some instruments like the flute and the harmonica may require some breath control and good lung capacity, most others only require motor skills. It’s important to pick an instrument that we love and get going. Even if we only manage to get the simple notes, it is a beginning, in the right direction, to keep our brains active a little longer.
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