OK, I’ll admit it. Many people don’t know that I play piano. I can’t say that I consciously don’t tell people, but the subject of adults and instruments really doesn’t come up all that often. Maybe I am afraid that someone will put me on the spot and ask me to play. I could/would do it, but it would be one of my own compositions, not something they’ve heard – yet.
Taking up an instrument again later in life has not been without challenges. I’ll discuss many of those challenges in future blog posts. Learning piano has been very rewarding, though, and I would encourage any adult to pick an instrument and go for it.
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas Edison
Here are my 4 reasons why you should take up an instrument as an adult:
1. Mental health. My 91 year-old grandmother has dementia. She is great physically for her age, but she doesn’t know who anyone is anymore. This scares me. I hope that commitment to an instrument may help me one day. Studies show that playing an instrument has positive effects on your brain as you age:
2. Makes you do something outside of your comfort zone. As adults we get stuck in ruts all the time. Some stay in those ruts – are you the last member? So how do you get out of a rut? Make a conscious effort to do something different. That something different can be as simple as taking a different route to work or going to a different Friday lunch venue. A better option is to take up an instrument and connect with someone over it. This can be on an internet forum or a face to face lesson.
3. Appreciation for other musicians. I love live music. I won’t say that in the past I did not highly appreciate the talents I shelled out big bucks to see. However, it was not until I tried to play for myself as an adult that I truly appreciated others’ musical talents and the hard work they had to put in to get there.
4. Why not? Turns out this was the ah-hah moment I had. I had always regretted quitting piano the first time around. I’d hear a great piano riff on the radio and say to myself “I sure wish I hadn’t quit and maybe I could do that.” I eventually realized it was not too late to try again.
5. I know I said four reasons, but here’s the bonus fifth reason: You might receive a card from your child telling you she loves your playing. This was the case this past weekend with a Father’s Day card made by my daughter. She’s probably just buttering me up for something later (she’s a crafty 8 year-old), but it was sure nice to see it in my little girl’s handwriting.