Music can be harnessed for more than just enjoyment. There is no denying the healing power of music. Most people are aware that music is soothing and a great source of self-expression.
The main goals of music therapy often include appropriate release of emotions, increased verbalisation and social skills, and an enhanced sense of confidence.The American Music Therapy Association reports that music can “be used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.”
Music can also be exceptionally beneficial to seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.It’s no secret that seniors often experience loneliness and depression, as well as a loss of independence and self-identity. Activities like learning to play an instrument and performing help counter many of these issues.
If you’re entering retirement or are looking for a new hobby, here are a few ways to use music therapy for seniors.
Music provides a release of tension and stress. Learning to play an instrument can enhance mood while simultaneously helping you, the player, relax. In addition, it may even spark your interest to get involved with other creative activities, such as writing, drawing, or painting.
Music offers opportunities for social interaction. After years of experiencing consistent social engagement from outlets like your job, having something tangible to work on can be a welcomed activity. Practising for performances, group jam sessions, or simply taking a group class gives you something to look forward to each week.
Learning to play an instrument provides something specific for you to work toward. It will challenge you. Playing music keeps you moving forward by providing a new way for you to set, reach, and exceed personal goals.
Learning to play an instrument serves as a cognitive workout and can even help you stay ahead and decrease the threat of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Hearing a song can also evoke memories years after an event. Music may be a great way to help you remember different experiences throughout your life or serve as a way to help you learn new things.
It’s never too late to start playing an instrument! The benefits of musicianship are long-lasting and can help you stay active and continue learning as you move through a different phase of your life. Now you just need to tackle the big question: which instrument will you choose?
Christopher Sutton is the founder of Easy Ear Training and Musical U, where musicians can discover and develop their natural musicality. Born and raised in London, England he lives with his wife, daughter, and far too many instruments.