The Joy of Learning to Play an Instrument Later in Life
More people in their 50s and 60s are finding that taking up a musical instrument or singing improves their lives in many ways
Fourteen years ago, on the eve of her retirement as a newspaper columnist, Nancy Beeghly of Youngstown, Ohio, decided to learn to play the cello. She adored the burnished sound the cello produces, when played properly. But she hadn’t the foggiest idea about bowing, plucking or tuning one.
Taking the musical plunge “was the most humbling thing I have ever done,” the 72-year-old Ms. Beeghly says.
Taking the musical plunge “was the most humbling thing I have ever done,” the 72-year-old Ms. Beeghly says
There used to be a “widespread belief that if you did not begin learning a musical instrument in your childhood or school years, you had missed your chance,” says
such attitudes have changed with gusto. “People of any age can learn to play and [gain] a level of satisfaction,” says Dr. Ernst, who founded New Horizons, a program that encourages adults to play musical instruments
Moreover, a growing body of research suggests that playing an instrument or singing in a choir can enhance emotional well-being, brain health, cognition and hearing function.
There is technology that can be helpful, too, from YouTube videos to play-along computer programs to apps that provide accompaniments to whatever you’re playing. You can also get music on your iPad, which can be very helpful if you want to enlarge the size of the notes you’re trying to read.