Whilst you might have missed the mark for a new year’s resolution, it’s never too early to take up a new skill or hobby! It’s important for older people in particular to have several hobbies in order to keep them mentally, physically and socially active. One such hobby that will provide the brain with a fresh challenge is learning to play musical instruments.
As we visited in our blog last week, keeping your brain active is essential in the fight against dementia, but learning how to play musical instruments will also help to improve your time management and organisational skills – not to mention your hand-eye coordination!
Today’s post will share five musical instruments that you could begin playing. For more hobby ideas please see our in-depth guide.
The piano is one of the classic musical instruments that people often try to master. It’s a versatile instrument and can create a range of sounds, and moods when being played. You’ll need to learn how to co-ordinate both hands at the same time, however you’ll have your musical notes right there in front of you as you play.
Like a keyboard, all the keys are right there in front of you. If you’ve memorised where all of the numbers and letters are on your PC, then you’re already in a good position to learn all of the piano keys.
There are plenty of piano instructors and manuals out there, given that it is such a popular instrument. Along with the health benefits mentioned previously in this post, the playing piano will also extend your culture knowledge, whilst also reducing stress and anxiety. It’s an instrument which creates classic, relaxing music.
The guitar, alongside the drums, is often considered to be the “coolest” musical instrument to play. There are plenty of options available too, including electric, acoustic, classical and bass guitars all providing different tunes and styles, depending on the type of music you like!
Chords and scales can often be mastered in a few months but there are so many more skills beyond those that you’ll need to learn to truly master this instrument. Eventually though you’ll be playing some of your all-time favourite songs.
The guitar will also boost your memory and attention span as there are so many different chords and songs for you to master. Again, a memory boost will help in the battle against dementia. You’ll also become a great multitasker, as Liberty Park Music explain you’ll be able to:
- Read guitar tabs and scores.
- Create the right chord shape with your hands.
- Concentrate on playing the notes accurately.
- Read ahead for upcoming notes.
- Listen to the sounds being made.
- Keep time.
If you get the hang of playing guitar then your social life could also improve. Opportunities may arise for you to join a band or to play in local cafes and pubs. You could even play your own little gigs for your loved ones – the guitar is arguably the best of all musical instruments at bringing people together.
If the guitar isn’t your thing, then perhaps the ukulele is a batter option. This is generally considered to be one of the easiest musical instruments to learn, as well as being an inexpensive and portal option.
The ukulele only has four strings, compared to the guitar’s six, which are made from a soft nylon-like material. It’s also considerably smaller, with a much more lighthearted sound. Don’t let the four strings put you off though, you can still play the same songs that you would on the guitar. There is also no need to a pick with a ukulele.
Other benefits of choosing the ukulele include:
- Small and easy to carry around.
- Majority of chords are easy to play and memorise.
Most people grasp the concept of ukulele chords within a few short weeks, and doing so puts you in a perfect place to advance to a guitar or violin.
Something a little different, the harmonica is great if you’re a fan of folk, country and blues music. This tiny instrument is extremely portable, you can little put it in your pocket and go anywhere to practice.
It’s often said that it is hard to sound bad whilst playing the harmonica, as any note you play will be in key. Another benefit it that the harmonica requires you to learn different breathing techniques, whilst alleviating your lung power and capacity whilst playing.
If you’re looking to unleash your inner rock star and revisit your youth, look no further than the drums. Of all the musical instruments out there, it’s the drums which let you be as loud and expressive as you want to be.
The drums aren’t too difficult to learn but it is advised that you go with an experienced teacher. It can take a few months of practice on the drums to be able to produce solid and discernible beats. Other benefits of the drums include:
- They’re really, really fun!
- They will give you a confidence boost.
- A great way of relieving of stress and anger.
- Everybody loves to have a drummer -bands, bars and pubs especially.
- Drums can boost your mathematics ability.
- A great workout for the brain – you’ll be using all four limbs.
Other musical instruments
Of course, any musical instrument is great to pick up and play, be it a cello, a banjo or even something as seemingly simple as a triangle! If it seems like something you’d enjoy, be sure to give it a go. You can do this by getting in touch with your local music shop – many of whom will offer free trials to enable you to give it a try!