Why You Should Learn To Play A Musical Instrument As An Adult


Channing Tatum is trying something new.

The 36-year-old actor is learning how to play the piano as his New Year's resolution. In fact, he even posted this video of his progress in order to "shame himself" into getting better.

He's right, too: Trying to learn a skill you know some 10-year-old children are better at than you are can be brutal.

Still, you should think about following Tatum's example and learning a new instrument, even if you've never played one before.

And if you need added incentive, here's one: Multiple studies show learning how to play music can strengthen your brain as you age.

Per the National Geographic, the benefits of learning how to play music include strengthening memory, improving ability to process information, increased ability to process sound and even literal growth of the brain.

It doesn't appear to matter at which age you learn how to do it, either. Jennifer Bugos, a professor at the Univeristy of South Florida, told Nat Geo,

But just in case you're skeptical and think the cognitive benefits to learning music are only gained as a child, consider Bugos' own study.


Bugos monitored the effect of piano training on people between the ages of 60 and 85.

After just six months, the adults who had received the piano lessons showed greater cognitive strengths – like memory and "planning ability" – as compared to the adults who had been receiving music instruction.

And we haven't even gotten to the high you can experience as a musician.

That's right: Playing music has the tendency to release endorphins, Oxford psychology professor Robin Dunbar found via research.

Dunbar told The Atlantic,

Just about the only downside to learning how to play an instrument is the time it takes and the frustration that can come with the adult expectation of learning things quickly.

But it's worth it, as Beverly Zweiben told the Washington Post.

Zweiben, who began learning how to play the piano after age 50, said,

If it can work for her, why can't it work for you?

Citations: National Geographic, Washington Post, The Atlantic