The Benefits of Playing Music at an Older Age

 In Adult Day Care, Informative, Seniors care

Once you retire, you suddenly find that you have plenty of time on your hands. This is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby.

Perhaps you always wanted to learn an instrument but never had the time until you retired.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be young to start learning — you can pick up an instrument at any age.

In fact, learning to play music is quite a constructive hobby for seniors, providing many physical, mental, and emotional benefits.

Here are some ways learning an instrument can help you, as well as some recommendations on what you should start learning to play.

Creative Expression Relieves Stress

Many musicians feel they music is the best medium for expressing themselves — it provides some catharsis.

Research tends to agree, as some studies show that the brain release dopamine and serotonin when we play instruments.

Set aside some time at the end of every day to express yourself through music and you’ll feel good.

Keeps the Mind Sharp

Playing music requires numerous skills:

  • Finger dexterity and strength
  • Reading sheet music
  • Understanding music theory
  • Timing
  • Memorizing notes/chords

It might be exhausting, but think of it like exercise for your brain. Constantly challenging your mind to do all these things at once keeps your mind strong, similar to how lifting weights keeps muscles strong.

Provides Opportunities to Socialize

Every so often, you’ll feel lonely in retirement. It’s an unfortunate reality, but playing an instrument can help.

If you start on an instrument, you’ll it easier for other people to get in on playing that instrument as well.

You can even find other musicians that play different instruments and start a little music group as a hobby. Working together to jam to pieces of music can be incredibly rewarding for everyone involved as you all play your respective instruments.

Provides Goals to Achieve

At times, you may not feel a sense of direction or purpose in retirement. With music, you can set goals that you can work towards every day.

Be realistic with your goals, as you don’t want to burn out. For example, start by learning notes and chords, then progress to simple songs. Master those, and move to slightly more complex theory or music.

Take things a day at a time. Each time you achieve a goal, you’ll feel satisfaction and fulfillment.

Instruments for Seniors to Try

Here are some instruments that each provide a great stepping stone for seniors into music, as well as things to keep in mind when starting.


Guitars are one of the most accessibly instruments, but there’s a lot to consider. Do you want to play acoustic or electric? The former is more challenging, but the latter requires cables and amplifiers.

You have plenty of genre options as well — from country to rock to bluegrass and more.


Piano’s great for learning music theory, as the keys and the music are both in front of you. If a piano is too bulky or out of your budget, consider a piano with weighted keys.


Ukulele’s are easy to learn and incredibly portable. These instruments sound very “tropical” when played, as they come from Hawaii.

Ukulele skills also carry over to guitar, so it’s a great instrument for guitar beginners.


If you want to play some drums but a full drum kit is too loud for your living situation, bongos are an excellent alternative. They’re compact and they don’t cost much, yet they’re fun to play.

At Mainline Adult Daycare Center, seniors participate in plenty of fun activities and hobbies, including music. Contact us today — we provide a safe and interactive environment for all of our members.

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