Music Lessons for Adults: The Joy of Learning to Play an Instrument Later in Life

The modern American lives in a culture of constant learning and socialization – until a certain point. From kindergarten through high school, students jam in as much knowledge as they can, filling their spare time with hobbies and social endeavors. Then, those who go to college hone in on a subject and do it all again. Suddenly, the student becomes an adult, and the time to make friends and learn new skills is gone… except it isn’t. Opportunities to grow are always nearby, and in adulthood, people finally have the insight to seek them out. 

Music lessons are a great way to keep the brain active, make friends, and find (or reignite) passion for the arts. The advantages of music lessons for adults are endless, the biggest being that learning to play an instrument is a ton of fun – and even adults deserve a little fun now and again. Regardless of when someone starts, playing an instrument can bring benefits unmatched by much else, so why wait? 

Music Relieves Stress

Music and emotion are deeply intertwined; people listen to upbeat music to lift their mood, slower tempos to contemplate and relax, and rock or pop to release energy. The impacts of listening to music are significant, but they can’t compare to playing. To start, getting lost in a song is an excellent way to escape the pressures of day-to-day life, and it doesn’t require any expertise to reap the emotional benefits of playing an instrument – quite the opposite is true. Perfection isn’t necessary for music; like any wellness activity, practicing for enjoyment brings the greatest effect. 

Music lessons for adults also bring physiological stress relief. Studies show that playing and writing music can lower cortisol levels, which in turn lowers heart rate and blood pressure.

Music Lessons for Adults Give You a Chance to Socialize

Another way to relieve stress is spending time with friends, but meeting new people in adulthood can be challenging, particularly after retirement, a big move, or when the kids are out of school. The strongest relationships are often built around a shared interest, one in which individuals can grow together, share frustrations, and celebrate accomplishments. Group lessons are an excellent way to find those people. The icing on the cake? Friendship can also improve group performance, so practicing with friends might end up boosting the group’s musical abilities as well. 

Music Education Improves Work Performance Overall

Playing an instrument uses a lot of brainpower, and for many, that translates to improved capabilities at work. It takes dedication, concentration, and excellent time management abilities to learn a new skill, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the positive impacts on work performance.

Build Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills

Music lessons for adults provide resources, but truly learning an instrument takes a little problem-solving. When learning a song, musicians are constantly evaluating and adjusting until it sounds the way they intended it to. While fine-tuning the rhythm and notes doesn’t feel like solving a math equation, it’s essentially the same thing: try an approach, assess the results, and try again until something clicks.

Hone Attention to Detail and Heighten Listening Skills

A music education can also do wonders for attention to detail. Non-musicians tend to hear the background of a song as one unit, but those well-versed in music can pinpoint the different ingredients that comprise it. Musicians also build attention to detail by reading sheet music. Every note, tempo marking, key signature, and repeat symbol need to be accounted for, and it takes a quick eye to spot them while simultaneously playing.

In addition, music lessons for adults have proven to heighten listening skills. Understanding notes and what they should sound like increases a person’s ability to distinguish pitch, even in speech. The benefits to one’s listening skills are taken a step further when playing with a group. Actively listening to other musicians, such as when trying to match their speed or listening for a cue to chime in, has shown to improve auditory processing capabilities. Advancements in this area make it easier to distinguish slight differences between words, and ultimately, helps people understand each other better.

Improve Coordination And Fine Motor Control

Playing an instrument uses both sides of the body, a skill called bilateral coordination. When playing a string instrument such as the violin or viola, one hand works the bow, while the other determines the notes. Even with instruments where both hands have similar roles, such as the drums and piano, the hands are still playing completely different things. 

Learning the intricate nuances of an instrument also improves dexterity, which is defined as the readiness and grace in physical activity, especially skill and ease in using the hands. It takes a good deal of practice to gain mastery at coordinating these small movements, but once one does, that skill translates to many other areas of life: typing, driving, juggling – you name it.  

Playing an Instrument Keeps You Mentally Sharp 

The overarching reason that music lessons for adults can improve work performance is that playing music activates the mind. Playing an instrument uses both sides of the brain, which increases the neural pathways between them. In fact, numerous studies have shown that musicians typically have more activity in the corpus callosum (the nerve fibers connecting the brain hemispheres) than the average person. 

Plasticity, the ability of the brain to change its structure, can also be heightened by playing music. The brain is extremely malleable, and though it isn’t actually a muscle, it needs to be exercised regularly in order to keep the pathways it’s made. Learning a new skill, especially one that uses so much of the brain, is an excellent way to keep the mind alert. 

While science hasn’t yet uncovered all of the brain’s secrets, one thing is certain: some activities activate the brain more than others, and learning music hits virtually every region.

music lessons for adults

Reap the Benefits of Music Lessons for Adults With Forbes Music Company

Music lessons can increase emotional wellbeing, provide social opportunities, improve work performance, and even sharpen the mind. There’s no wrong age to pick up an instrument, and with the wide range of options offered by Forbes Music Company, there’s a class for everyone. Students can learn with a group online, take a private lesson, and even have a dedicated instructor come to their home; what matters is that what you choose works for you. Ready to give it a whirl? Sign up for a lesson today!

Source: The Joy of Learning to Play an Instrument Later in Life – WSJ