The Easiest Musical Instruments for Seniors to LearnDecember 15, 2022
Seniors can bring music into their lives, both as a hobby and a form of therapy, by learning some easy-to-play musical instruments. While it may be intimidating to pick up an instrument later in life, there are many options that don’t require extensive practice or coordination.
National Institute of Health research shows older adults experience an improvement in neural efficiency, behavioral performance, and verbal memory after learning to play an instrument. Here are seven of the easiest musical instruments for seniors to learn.
The harmonica wins for being small and light, easy to carry and play anywhere, and only requires simple hand movements and blowing air through the holes to create sound. All genres of music use the harmonica in their songs, and little changes in the force of airflow or movement of your mouth across the reed holes create beautiful tones whether you are playing solo or as part of a group.
You may remember the recorder as an instrument from your elementary school music class. The recorder is great for seniors for the same reason it’s great for kids; this simple wind instrument creates sound by moving fingers up and down over the eight holes while blowing into the mouthpiece. The sound is similar to a clarinet, with a lot less finger action to perfect. In addition, the instrument is light, and many come in two pieces for even more compact transport and storage.
Learning to play drums, whether a full set or a compact electronic version, comes naturally to most people, as following a tempo is instinctive. You can learn drum beats by watching online tutorials, getting instruction from a teacher, or even creating and memorizing the rhythms. Drums are ideal for seniors who want to incorporate more physical activity into their day. Better yet, you can purchase headphones to go with an electronic set, so you aren’t bothering your neighbors!
A fiddle is a simpler version of the violin, with only four strings you stroke with a bow. If you want to improve your finger dexterity, a fiddle is a great option, as you’ll need to move your fingers of one hand across the frets to create various notes as you draw the bow with the other. In addition, the sound of a fiddle can be very soothing, and lessons are easy to follow.
A ukulele may be an excellent alternative if you want to play the guitar but find the instrument too large or complicated. With only four strings and a short fret, the arm and hand action is less strenuous for seniors to master. The instrument makes a gentle sound that won’t disturb others, and creating chords is a fun pastime. Once you become proficient on a ukulele, it’s much easier to transition to a guitar.
The flute creates beautiful music, and while it looks complicated, it is an easy instrument to learn. You’ll need both arms to hold the flute while making notes by pushing down the tabs with your fingers. You purse your lips and blow across the mouth, opening to produce sound. Mastering the skill will significantly improve motion and strength. Flutes can be made of wood, which creates a deeper tone, or metal, which makes a higher pitch of music.
A piano can be a challenging instrument to master, but it is also one that you can enjoy using rudimentary skills. Learning piano basics and chords isn’t hard, and even spending time exploring the keys and sounds will help you with eye-hand coordination and getting an ear for musical notes. You can play tunes following online tutorials and beginning learner practice books in no time.
The benefits of learning a musical instrument
Studies have shown that learning a musical instrument can offer many benefits for seniors. It helps them to stay mentally sharp, as it encourages brain stimulation and creativity. Additionally, playing music has been linked with improved memory and concentration, which can help seniors maintain their independence.
Music can also provide an emotional outlet for those dealing with stress or loneliness. It can be used to express emotions in a positive way, helping seniors improve their mental health and wellbeing. Finally, learning to play an instrument is great exercise for both the mind and body, providing physical benefits such as improved coordination and motor skills.
All of these factors make playing a musical instrument an ideal activity for older adults looking to stay healthy and active while enjoying themselves at the same time!
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