Why early musical training can help you during senior years & how you can benefit from it?

Old age is a frightening period for many. Most of human faculties are declining during this period be it in physical or mental realms. Cognitive strengths enjoyed when someone is younger are gradually ebbing, and the body begins to show its first signs of declining health. However, longer life-expectancy in the world today makes senior citizens a larger group in our society compared to before. Thus, adapting to senior years is something that everyone must make plan about. One day, all of us will finally arrive to that ripe old age.

One way that can help us to face senior years in more prepared and more controlled conditions, is trying out an activity which is so beneficial and entertaining at the same time; that is by involving ourselves in some kinds of musical instrument training. This is more likely to give benefits if the musical training started earlier during childhood, but not everyone would have the opportunity to attend these kinds of musical training. For those who are not so lucky, it is still not too late to begin even during midlife, as supported by latest research findings. If you are interested in picking up a new musical instrument, head over to Ossia Music Course in Singapore for more information on their curriculum for adults.

Diane Cole writes for National Geographic about the benefits musical instrument training can give to the seniors.

Starting to play instrument during midlife can still bring benefits during older years

A growing number of studies show that music lessons in childhood can do something perhaps more valuable for the brain than childhood gains: provide benefits for the long run, as we age, in the form of an added defense against memory loss, cognitive decline, and diminished ability to distinguish consonants and spoken words.

Not only that, you may well get those benefits even if you haven’t tickled the ivories, strummed the guitar, or unpacked your instrument from its case in years. And dividends could even be in store if you decide to pick up an instrument for the very first time in midĀ­life or beyond. Read more here!

So, if you are a parent, knowing that musical instrument training or lesson can provide that much benefits, do not just register your children but tag along with them and be one the students, too. If you cannot join the scheduled classes like most of the children, why not try to find a private musical instrument tutor who can set the schedule according to yours.

We all hope that we can enter senior years without the problem of memory loss, keep our cognitive functions at its optimum level and do not suffer from hearing problems which are very common among the elders. That way, the final years can be more enjoyable and comfortable to both the seniors and the caregivers.

Mo Costandi, a neurobiologist shares with us the relation between sounds hearing and musical instrument training in The Guardian newspaper online.

Your brain can process sounds better, making you socially active longer

The researchers played recordings of complex speech sounds to the participants, and used scalp electrodes to measure the timing of neural responses in a part of the auditory brainstem. As we age, the precision of this timing deteriorates, making it difficult to understand speech, especially in environments with a lot of background noise. Participants who had received moderate amounts of musical training exhibited the fastest neural responses, suggesting that even limited training in childhood can preserve sharp processing of speech sounds and increase resilience to age-related decline in hearing. Read more here!

It is amazing to realize how playing musical instrument can prolong our ability to hear sounds correctly. The brain that have undergone long and rigorous training to dissect musical notes and tones, while at the same time producing it with the hands, or mouth, or feet, all these contributed to the power behind instrument training or lesson. Unlike hearing to music alone, the body during enjoying songs in the radio or iPod was not in harmony with the creation of the music itself. The brain is not stretched to the extent musical instrument training can do to it.

Every time we observe how the elders face confusions when they are in conversations which in turn making them feel embarrassed and neglected at the same time, remember how playing musical instrument can help. The problem that lies in the declining faculties which is very normal among seniors, can be prevented if we choose to pick up an instrument and play now!

Aged Care Report Card News supports this view and more in its blog post about the benefits of musical instrument training when ageing.

Do not forget the psychological benefits of playing musical instrument at older age

Playing an instrument provides you with a mental and physical work-out, as well as several other health benefits. Many older adults may feel that learning a new skill is too difficult at their age. The fact is, though, that taking on this challenge can actually provide them with much satisfaction and a great sense of achievement. Music is also a great social activity for older adults, helping decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness. Music is also shown to help support the body’s immune system and regulate blood pressure. Playing music also releases endorphins in the body which help alleviate stress and fights the symptoms of depression. By decreasing the level of stress in the body, seniors can actually enjoy a more fulfilling life.

It is crucial for older adults to engage in hobbies that help them stay active and alert. One of the best activities for ageing adults is learning to play an instrument. This skill will not only improve cognitive ability, but provide seniors with a new take on life. Music can help fight depression and give seniors a new social outlet. More than a hobby, playing an instrument is a fun way for older adults to feel young again!

Mastering new skills at an older age is an accomplishment that can help to boost spirits and bring excitement into life. It is not easy to learn new things when you already lost most of the advantages of your younger selves. But, with dedicated and professional efforts and guidance of good instructors, they can learn the instruments in enjoyable ways.

When they group together with others of same age, the togetherness might chase away the boredom that always haunt people of their age and allow them to walk back down memory lanes. The good chemicals released in their body during playing musical instruments, can help to diminish stress and worries. So, their mood will be lighter and brighter. Feeling happy and appreciated are two important ingredients towards a fulfilling old age, and how amazing when the beautiful melodies of musical instruments are the reasons behind them.