I already know what you’re thinking.
Yes, you’ve always wanted to learn how to play the piano. And you’re sure there are plenty of benefits too (which we’ll get to in a moment).
But you’re also thinking that, at your age, it’s going to be too hard to learn something new. You’re too old, it’s too late, and the piano is too complicated.
Wouldn’t it be better to sign your kids (or your grandkids) up for music lessons instead? Wouldn’t they get more benefits out of it than you would?
Before you talk yourself out of the idea (again), let’s consider some reasons why now is the perfect time for you to sign up for piano lessons. We’ll discuss some scientifically proven benefits of playing piano for adults, and then we’ll banish those lingering doubts once and for all.
Inspiration lies just ahead, so keep reading!
I understand your insecurities—believe me, I’ve heard them before. But I can also assure you that those doubts are unfounded and untrue.
Imagine if Michelangelo had reasoned that way when the Romans asked him to design a church on the site of an ancient bathhouse. Along with being the only Renaissance-style church in Rome, the Santa Maria degli Angeli is now considered one of his most impressive works.
Even more impressive? Michelangelo was 88 years old when he designed the plans.
True, you’re not Michelangelo. But the truth is that we humans can accomplish amazing things at any age. You may never summit Everest or become a YouTube sensation, but let’s keep things in perspective here.
Learning to play the piano is well within your reach—no matter how old you are.
Now that our little pep talk is over, let’s look at some scientifically-proven ways that piano lessons can benefit you.
Don’t worry—we won’t make any old age jokes here.
But you don’t need me to tell you that as we age, those neurons don’t always spark as fast as they used to. A terrific way to keep those neurons firing (and forging new connections) is by learning to play a musical instrument.
Scientists have long known that simply listening to music has a stimulating effect on emotional and cognitive function. You’ve no doubt experienced that yourself when you hear one of your favorite songs from your childhood. Even if it’s been years since you last heard it, you can still hum the tune or sing the lyrics.
Now imagine how stimulating it is for your mind to learn to play those songs, rather than being a passive listener. Research reveals that music lessons enhance the activation of brain regions related to:
Here’s the really interesting part. This research applies specifically to older adults.
Sure, we hear stories all the time about musical child prodigies, like the 6-year-old boy who performed at Carnegie Hall. There’s no doubt that playing an instrument can do wonders for a child during their formative years.
But learning to play music as an adult (or even as a senior) can have the same enhancing effects on your brain. It slows cognitive decline and can even help to ward off dementia. Just like exercise keeps you physically fit, playing the piano keeps you “mentally fit.”
Bonus: It’s really fun too.
Do you have a harder time focusing than you used to? Do you struggle sometimes with anxious thoughts?
Here’s one more reason to learn to play the piano: It’s an excellent form of stress relief. In fact, studies show it can lower cortisol levels while decreasing anxiety and agitation.
The act of playing the piano—whether its Chopsticks or Mozart—requires intense concentration. Learning a new piece or overcoming a challenging passage activates the left side of your brain. Meanwhile, playing a piece you’ve already mastered activates the right side of your brain.
The result? Your brain is fully engaged while you play. There’s (literally) no room inside your mind for distracting thoughts.
Interestingly, there’s also a calming effect that occurs from the physical act of playing the piano. The vibrations caused by the strings (and the impact they have on the wood) has a profoundly calming effect on the body.
When you sit down at the piano, you can say goodbye to stress—even if it’s just for an hour.
Here’s one of the benefits of playing the piano you probably haven’t heard before: It can increase your HGH levels.
What is HGH, exactly? It stands for Human Growth Hormone—something our bodies make less of as we age. HGH is one of the body’s primary weapons against pain and inflammation.
You’ve already made the connection, haven’t you? Getting older brings a host of unwelcome aches and pains. Playing the piano releases HGH into your bloodstream, providing a natural defense against pain.
No, it won’t magically cure your arthritis or turn you into a triathlete. But research has found that it can slow the progression of osteoporosis while giving your energy levels a boost. That’s definitely something to stand up and cheer about!
While we’re talking about aches and pains, how are your hands these days? Do your fingers feel stiff and achy at times?
The mechanics of playing the piano is a great way to keep those fingers nimble and flexible. As you stretch to reach different keys, you’ll develop (or redevelop) strength and dexterity in your fingers, hands, and wrists.
But the benefits don’t end there. Piano lessons also teach you how to read music while you play, strengthening your hand/eye coordination.
This physical/mental connection ties in nicely with the boosted cognitive function we talked about earlier. Learning to play the piano strengthens communication skills and battles hearing loss. It also enhances your auditory working memory, which reinforces your ability to communicate clearly.
2020 has left most of us feeling lonely and isolated. Due to the pandemic, you probably haven’t had the chance to spend as much time as you’d like with your family or neighbors.
Signing up for piano lessons could open you up to a whole new circle of friends. You’re sure to enjoy the time you’ll spend with your piano teacher. And once we’re able to safely socialize again, playing the piano will be a great opportunity to meet others who share your interest in music.
Remember when we mentioned earlier about using both sides of your brain when you play the piano? This is called divergent thinking, which improves not only your problem-solving skills but also your creativity.
As we get older (and busier), we’re not always in touch with our own feelings. Learning to play music is a wonderful, healthy way to reconnect with and express those emotions.
The result? You’ll feel happier and your overall health and well-being will improve.
After reading through all of those benefits of playing piano for adults, your list of excuses is dwindling.
Maybe your kids have gone off to college or maybe you’ve recently retired. We’re all staying inside right now thanks to the coronavirus. And for at least half the year, it’s too hot in Palm Springs to spend a lot of time outdoors anyway.
Whatever your reasons, let’s face it: You have plenty of time on your hands. You’re probably tired of doing the same thing (and watching the same boring shows) every day.
Shouldn’t you spend some of your free time trying something new—something you’ve always wanted to do—rather than watching another re-run on the Food Network?
You may think that piano lessons require a huge time commitment, but that’s not the case. You could practice as little as once a week, for 60 or even 30 minutes, and still derive the benefits listed above.
Not only is it beneficial for your body and mind, but it will give you something to look forward to every week. Isn’t that something all of us could use, especially in a year as strange and stressful as 2020?
If you’ve read this far, you’ve already proven you have the patience and determination needed to play the piano.
The benefits of learning to play the piano are clear. It’s something you’ve always wanted to do anyway. And (like the rest of us) you’re not getting any younger.
Why not switch off the TV and sign up for a few piano lessons instead? It’s an amazing way to keep your mind and body active and express yourself creatively.
I’ve spent the past 25 years teaching music to students of all ages and backgrounds. If you have a love for music, we already have a lot in common!
Want to learn more about piano lessons or discuss schedules and pricing? Let’s talk! Use this online contact form or give me a call or text at 818-929-5695.