Benefits of Learning to Play an Instrument Later in Life

It’s common knowledge about children: learning to play an instrument is good for motor skills, learning, and personality development. But if you didn’t learn to play an instrument as a child, is it too late? Studies show that the benefits of learning an instrument aren’t limited to children and that it is possible for adults to effectively learn an instrument. Let’s look at the ways musical training benefits adults and what advantages adults learning an instrument have compared to children.

1) Musical Training Grows Your Brain 

Studies show that learning an instrument strengthens both memory and reading skills. A recent study shows that music skills account for about 40% of the difference in reading abilities in children. Learning a musical instrument also increases the grey matter in the brain and slows the decline in age-related hearing loss. But start now—the longer you’ve played an instrument, the greater your benefits.

2) Playing An Instrument Reduces Stress and Depression

Music therapy, along with standard depression care, is proven to enhance treatment for adults with depression. Separate studies show correlations between playing an instrument and reduced stress. Since stress is a major source of health issues, playing music is good for your health.

3) Learning an Instrument is a Great Way to Make Friends

Finally, learning to play an instrument is a great way to make new friends. Making new friends through music lessons assures you already have something in common: music! In addition, your new friends can help keep you accountable for practice.

Is it Too Late to Learn an Instrument?

Now that you know the benefits of learning to play an instrument, you may wonder if it’s too late. The good news is that it is never too late to take music lessons. In fact, adults have several advantages over children when it comes to playing music.

1) You are familiar with various styles of music.

Children are extremely limited in what music they’ve had exposure to and frequently struggle to play new sounds. Adults have much more exposure to both classical and contemporary music, giving them the upper hand when it comes to actually learning a new piece of music. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a person who knows a lot of music, you’ve naturally been exposed to plenty of music through television, movies, and the radio.  

2) You actually want to learn the instrument, no one is making you.

One of the biggest benefits you have as an adult learning music is that you actually want to learn. Many children are only attending because they are forced to. There is a lot of research that shows the importance of music education to children, but this research doesn’t make them want to practice an instrument instead of playing video games. Which leads us into the final advantage:

 3) You have the discipline and focus to make yourself practice.

You may want to stay out late, watch another episode of your favorite tv show, or even play a video game with your children or grandchildren, but you have the discipline to stop and practice your instrument. When practicing, you’re more likely to be able to focus for an hour or more without getting distracted by things that derail your practice. These are skills only gained through maturity, which children don’t have.

Where to Learn to Take Adult Music Lessons Around Washington, DC

If you live in the Washington, DC metro area, there are many great adult music lesson class options. In addition, there are private instructors throughout Washington, DC who teach music out of their homes.

Levine Music

2801 Upton St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 686-8000

Take group, ensemble, or private classes at this non-profit music school. In addition to instrument classes, there are history classes to learn more about your favorite composers or era of music.

The Washington Conservatory of Music

One Westmoreland Circle
Bethesda, MD 20816
(301) 320-2770

Choose from a wide variety of music classes including music theory, choir, ear training, and even Irish banjo. There are plenty of classes for all skill levels at The Washington Conservatory of Music.

The International School of Music

10450 Auto Park Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20817
(301) 365-5888

The International School of Music has private lessons and ensembles for all ages and experience levels. In addition to instrument lessons, there are voice lessons and composition lessons.