Music has been a part of human culture for centuries, bringing people together and evoking emotions. But did you know that playing music can also have a positive impact on your health and longevity?
It’s better to start learning an instrument if you want to keep your brain sharp. A recent study conducted by the University of Exeter has found that engaging with music and playing a musical instrument can have a positive impact on brain health in older age.
By analysing data from over 1,000 adults aged 40 and over, examining participants’ musical experience, lifetime exposure to music, and the results of cognitive testing, researchers revealed in particular that playing the piano is associated with improved memory and better executive function.
According to Anne Corbett, in charge of the study, “being musical could help harness the brain’s agility and resilience, known as cognitive reserve” and these benefits are even more pronounced for individuals who continue their musical pursuits into later life.
While more research is needed to fully understand this relationship, the findings also suggest that promoting musical education and encouraging older adults to engage with music later in life could be valuable for brain health: they emphasize the potential benefits of music for brain health and suggest that incorporating music into public health initiatives could be beneficial.
If you’ve never played an instrument before, it’s never too late to start rocking your midlife. Many resources are available for older adults looking to learn an instrument, from online tutorials to in-person lessons. And once learnt, you can even join a group, or consider starting a band with friends or family members. This can be a great way to bond and create music together.
Alison Dunne, also known as Fish, has taken the initiative to form a punk band at the age of 58. She boldly stated, “I’ve reached a point where I no longer care about what others think of me.” However, there is one aspect that she does care about deeply. She emphasized, “Let me make it clear, this is not your typical ‘cutesy grannies have a go at punk’ band. We are here to have serious fun.”
Fish and her bandmates write their own music and express their anger towards various issues. She further explained, “I have been filled with rage for years.” Fish is just one example of the older women, from diverse backgrounds, who have joined the Unglamorous Music project based in Leicester (UK).
Founded by Ruth Miller, a 61-year-old, the project aims to establish a local punk scene for all-female bands who create their own music. Previous musical experience is irrelevant; what truly matters is enthusiasm.
So why not pick up that guitar or dust off that old piano? The sound of longevity may just be waiting for you to play it.