A study out of the Western Sydney University’s MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development has found numerous benefits of learning an instrument for seniors.
Even a small amount of social singing or playing an instrument can have staggering, lasting effects on those aged 65 and over.
Music and psychology researcher Dr Jennifer MacRitchie organised the study, which saw a group of seniors undergo a six-week course of piano lessons. The seniors had never played piano before. Dr MacRitchie then measured any changes in how the participants functioned in everyday life. The results were incredibly positive.
Because playing the piano is a complex task that requires concentration, muscle memory, and fine motor skills, the bodies of the participants registered the music lessons as a type of exercise. And, because the participants had fun during the music lessons, the physical and mental challenge was bearable, if not unnoticeable.
One study participant, Mary Webb, 78, really enjoyed the process.
“It got my brain going a bit more – you know my fingers, because I have trouble with my fingers and it was good.”
Dr MacRitchie found that participants were able to complete tasks faster, and that the connection between their brain and hand muscles had become stronger.
In addition to physical benefits, there were social benefits of attending group piano lessons.
“That was good because we were in a group and I really enjoyed it,” Mary said.
Should Seniors Start Music Lessons?
Absolutely! This study proves that no matter your age, learning an instrument can help keep you mentally and physically well.
The brain is plastic, and it’s never too late to learn a new skill. If you’re 60, 70, even 80 years old and you’ve always wanted to learn the piano or any other instrument, you most certainly can. In addition to fulfilling a lifelong ambition, you will improve your hands’ agility, your social life, and your mind’s sharpness.
If you’d like to know more about learning an instrument as an adult, have a read of our blog post Adult Music Lessons: Is it too Late to Learn?
Experience the Benefits of Learning an Instrument for Seniors
At the Liverpool Academy of Music, we accept student of all ages. If you are interested in taking a class, check out our Lessons Page. If you’d like to book a class, or ask any question, give us a call on 02 9602 9774 or fill out the form on this page.