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.
Hahaha! Keeping my New Year's resolution to "learn new things". But teaching myself piano is brutal. Got to get some legit lessons soon. pic.twitter.com/pDNH5iGbZB — Channing Tatum (@channingtatum) January 23, 2017
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,
Musical training seems to have a beneficial impact at whatever age you start. It contains all the components of a cognitive training program that sometimes are overlooked, and just as we work out our bodies, we should work out our minds.
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,
Psychologically, endorphin release is experienced as a mild opiate 'high,' a corresponding feeling of well-being and light analgesia.
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,
I was absolutely dreadful. I had no hand, eye or brain coordination. [But] there's nothing more gratifying than doing something with your hands, and out comes something that vaguely sounds like music.
If it can work for her, why can't it work for you?