For many older adults, retirees in particular, learning to play a musical instrument was something that they had kept putting off because there were more important things to do, such as working and taking care of their family. Now they have more time on their hands, the prospect of finally being able to play an instrument like the ukulele has become too good to pass up.
But more than simply a way to pass the time, learning to play ukulele and other instruments also offers a number of other benefits for seniors. If you or someone you know has been wanting to play ukulele for the longest time, here are the reasons why today is the best time to start.
Learning music improves brain function
Keeping adult brains sharp isn’t all about doing crossword puzzles and sudoku. You can also take music lessons to improve cognitive abilities, particularly in the realm of working memory. A study found that adults without previous musical training exhibited improved processing speed and verbal fluency after taking piano lessons. The cognitive impact would be no different for those playing other instruments like guitar and ukulele.
In addition, learning music can help strengthen neural connections and help in increasing concentration. It exercises your brain because you multitask. Reading sheet music, thinking of the next chords, counting out rhythms and strumming to the beat, singing – all of these contribute to working your brain and keeping it sharp.
Delays in brain function as a natural result of aging can then be avoided or offset when one has musical training. Other studies have shown how music instruction proves to be a promising cognitive intervention to allow older adults to preserve and even build their cognitive and coordination skills.
Playing an instrument relieves stress
Older adults who haven’t gone into retirement can unwind at the end of a long day by reading, watching videos and playing a musical instrument. Playing music is a soothing, comforting activity that makes you feel good no matter your age.
For adults, playing an instrument is a good way to ease stress and relieve anxiety. Doing a relaxing activity such as playing ukulele before bed also preps you for a good night’s sleep, which is important for your overall well-being.
Learning something new gives you something to look forward to
It’s exciting to learn something new every day. When it comes to music, learners would have goals to accomplish such as mastering three chords a week, playing a favorite tune, being able to perform in front of friends and family and so on.
These goals provide players with the motivation to keep on improving their skills. And for every goal achieved, there’s a sense of accomplishment and pride. For older adults, especially retirees, this is an important thing because it gives them a reason to keep on working toward something while enjoying life to the fullest.
Playing ukulele allows for socialization
Picking up an easy instrument to play like the ukulele opens a window into a supportive community. Across the world there are ukulele clubs that welcome players young and old. As the ukulele is inexpensive, easy to play and bring along, it’s become a favorite among those who want to play music everywhere they go. Ukulele lessons, workshops, meetups and jamming sessions are common and there’s bound to be at least one ukulele group in a community. Playing together makes everything more fun.
Adults who may be feeling lonesome without their family around can benefit from joining one of these groups and learning to play ukulele with them. Being part of a group, making new friends and interacting with people from all walks of life does a lot to keep a person physically and socially active as well as emotionally healthy.
It’s never too late to learn an instrument like the ukulele. Playing music is a fun and engaging activity anyone can do and enjoy, and as you can see it offers a lot of benefits, especially for older players. So start playing today!