More and more seniors choose to learn a musical instrument. And they should because more and more research shows that playing a musical instrument can slow and sometimes even reverse the effects of aging – especially for hearing and memory.
At Modern Music School, we offer music lessons for students over 50. In line with our motto “Music is your dream,” students who never played an instrument before or those who want to start where they left off, learn to play and experience the many positive side effects that come with playing an instrument.
It is well known that music lessons give students learning advantages in school. Now, more recent research shows that music lessons have just as positive an effect on seniors and can offset some of the negative effects of growing older.
For seniors, music lessons can thus act as preventive health care on many levels – cognitive, motor, emotional and social – and prepare for everyday life in advanced age.
Among other things, playing music helps to exercise perception, thinking and motor skills and to generate positive emotions.
Benefits of music lessons on cognitive and motor skills
“Making music is one of the most difficult human accomplishments,” says Eckart Altenmüller, German neurologist and director of the Institute for Music Physiology and Musicians’ Medicine in Hannover.
When we play music, multiple areas of our brain become engaged and active simultaneously. For example, reading a note, interpreting a note and transferring it to our instrument, requires the coordination of two hands and ten fingers, maybe two feet – or our voice. This complicated process promotes concentration and entails learning, remembering and connecting new things.
Research shows: the longer people actively play music, the better their cognitive performance in old age. We’re never too old to learn an instrument!
A study by Jennifer Bugos, an assistant professor of music education at the University of South Florida studied the impact of piano lessons on adults between the ages of 60 and 85. Her research shows that just six months of piano lessons led to improvements in memory, verbal fluency, information processing, planning ability and other cognitive functions.
Also, a study by Claudia Spahn, a German doctor for Musicians’ Medicine and director of the Freiburg Institute for Musicians’ Medicine, shows that playing an instrument protects against loneliness and depression.
Emotional and social benefits of music lessons
With age, people feel increasingly lonely, and as though they’re no longer needed. Music lessons are a great way to meet new people, for example the music teacher or a group of other musicians. There are also many opportunities for anyone who plays music or has an interest in music to participate in cultural life and meet like-minded people.
Playing music can also be challenging – and very rewarding, once students successfully master these challenges.
At Modern Music School, lessons are designed to meet the individual needs of each student. Older students bring with them great life experience, many desires and also many skills and resources. Our teachers know how to recognize and integrate their students’ skills and resources and how to meet their aspirations.
We know how to promote successes, joie de vivre – and, of course, the love of music.