5 Reasons Why Playing an Instrument as an Adult Can Make You Happier and Healthier
As adults, we often say things like, "I wish I'd learned Spanish in school," or "I wish I had learned to play the piano when I was a kid." We sometimes feel it is too late to learn new things, that we have too many responsibilities or it just isn't the time of life for it.
The truth is, we couldn't be more wrong. There are benefits to music training that adults need even more than our kids do, even if we don't feel like the musical type. Here are five reasons you should try the violin, piano, or even bongo drums today.
The main page for Anxiety and Depression Disorders Association states that 40 million people will struggle with an anxiety disorder every year. That includes me, and it might include you, but happily, anxiety is a treatable disorder, and music can help you treat it. Music is a well-known soother of anxiety, and playing an instrument may help us be less afraid of failure in life and be less anxious overall.
Being responsible is stressful and hard, but taking a few minutes to learn about a musical skill with no strings attached may help boost self-esteem, mood, and relieve anxious thoughts. If you don't want to take lessons, that's fine. Nearly any instrument has free beginner's lessons online, and inexpensive intermediate lessons for purchase at home.
Many, many things in life just plumb aren't fun. Bills, parking tickets, the flu, jobs that go bust: the list is endless. However, having a constant source of fun in your home that doesn't depend on your credit score or your bank account can help fend off the depression we feel when things don't go right.
Playing "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" when the bills come or "You're So Vain" when the breakup hits can really help us cope. Something about pounding the keys or hard-strumming the guitar is more satisfying for most of us than just listening would be, and it is an enjoyable skill we take with us wherever we have to go.
If you think buying an instrument is too expensive to be fun, consider getting a used keyboard, guitar, violin or other instruments. Instruments are very affordable and can be found cheaply on local selling sites.
Dementia and early-onset dementia is a critical problem in our society. However, science has proven that playing an instrument helps protect and prevent early-onset and late-onset dementia. On the Neurodegeneration Research site, there is more than one article about how playing an instrument protects against dementia and can even prevent a decline in listening skills.
So if you want to be mentally present for your grandkids, learning to play the guitar or piano may help protect your future with them. It's science.
More of You to Give
Many moms or dads feel they don't have time for a personal hobby or to learn a new skill, but the truth is that setting an example of developing our talents is good for our kids and good for us. Kids tend to copy us, and if they decide to play an instrument, studies have shown academic improvement, and instant brain benefits can exist for the player (says Cambridge Brain Sciences). This can include but isn't limited to academic improvement and behavioral improvement.
Even if your kids don't follow your example, studies have shown playing an instrument (such as drums) can help us not to react with anger or aggression when problems face us (according to Music Therapy Perspectives). So those you care for might just have a happier, less frustrated caregiver which makes a happier environment for everyone.
Listen to Yourself
Sometimes it is hard to listen to ourselves. Life is loud, and so are our problems. However, sometimes giving ourselves something healthy can help us feel less frustrated, less empty, and more whole. Playing an instrument can even help us have moments without screens or stress, where we get to know ourselves better. If you've always wondered what it is like to stroke a violin or play the drum, why not try it?
Even if you're not sure you want to learn an instrument, why not schedule a visit to a music store? Most music clerks are happy (if you ask nicely) to let you try a few instruments off the walls, and will even talk to you about how it feels to play each one. You might walk away without a ukelele, but you will walk away having learned something and tried something new now and then, that's all it takes to give us a new perspective and keep working on the mundane in our lives.
Hopefully, these five reasons can help you make the choice to try something new, even if you don't feel like the musical type. Whether you just want a stronger brain or you're fighting anxiety, tickling the ivories or strumming a guitar may make a big difference in your well-being. It might just become a favorite and cherished hobby you can share with others and enjoy for yourself.