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It’s Never Too Late to Learn a Musical Instrument

It’s Never Too Late to Learn a Musical Instrument
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Have you always wanted to learn a musical instrument? It’s never too late!  No matter what age you may be, creating melodies has benefits that cannot be duplicated by any other activity.

–Playing music strengthens your synapses. Studies have shown that learning a challenging task typically results in the development of new neural pathways. In other words, when you’re practicing a new musical skill, your brain is immediately making new connections, similar to the way it did when you were a child. Just a few months of practicing a musical instrument leads to improved memory and, sometimes, an increased IQ.

–Music builds self-confidence and a sense of mastery. With each new chord or rhythm that you learn, you’ll be increasing your own self-worth. You may also find that playing music becomes an important way for you to express yourself and share the insights that are uniquely yours.

–Learning music can increase your physical health. Some studies have suggested that playing music can reduce blood pressure, as well as symptoms of insomnia or depression. Some recent evidence even suggests that music could help your immune system function better so that you won’t get sick as often. Also, many new musicians discover that the auditory and tactile vibrations created by a musical instrument can produce endorphins in your body that are physically soothing.

–Music can enhance your social connections. It’s fun to play music with others, and the addition of a musical instrument can enliven social gatherings. You may also find that you will make new social connections through music or deepen connections with existing friends and family.

If you’re thinking about learning a new instrument, there are several instruments that are ideally suited for adult beginners. Keep reading to learn more about four types of instruments that are easy and fun to take up as an adult: xylophone, recorder, ukulele and djembe.

Xylophone

This percussion instrument features a series of wooden or fiberglass bars of different lengths. The longer the bar, the lower the note it plays. When you strike a bar with a hard mallet, it produces a bright tone. Using a soft mallet creates a muted tone. Unlike many instruments, the xylophone allows you to physically see the keys you are playing, and the bars are presented in a progressive order; this makes learning to read music and create chords much easier to grasp.

Usually, you will use two mallets at a time to play the xylophone, one held in each hand. A beginner would most likely buy a student-quality xylophone, as higher quality models can be expensive.

Recorder

The recorder instrument, found here, is the most basic of woodwind instruments. It has several holes down the front, as well as one hole in the back. You play the recorder by blowing gently into the mouthpiece while covering certain holes with your fingers.

There are different sizes of recorder available. The smallest size, called a soprano recorder, has the highest pitch and is also the least expensive to purchase, making it an ideal choice for those readers who may be on the fence about investing hundreds in a hobby they may soon neglect. You can also acquire a high-quality resin soprano recorder for $50-100, although wooden models are more expensive.

Ukulele

A ukulele is a smaller member of the guitar family that uses four nylon strings. Many people find this instrument to be a fun addition to social gatherings because of its light, “happy” tone, and often associate it with tropical beaches and Hawaiian sunsets.

Ukuleles are also very lightweight and portable, so you can easily take your instrument with you. Best of all, ukulele requires a minimal investment—you can buy a decent quality ukulele for under $60. There are also plenty of instructional videos on Youtube that can teach you how to pluck at simple tunes.

Djembe

The djembe is a type of rope-tuned African drum that you play by striking the top in certain ways with your hands. This instrument may be made of wood or fiberglass.

When purchasing a djembe, be sure to buy one that’s the right size for you; attempting to play one that’s too small could be a frustrating experience, as purposefully striking the right part of the head can be more challenging. Most adults will need a djembe that is at least 10 inches wide on the top.

Quality djembes can be purchased for about $100. You may be able to find discounted prices for djembes with a minor visual blemish (which usually doesn’t affect the sound quality). An added bonus of this drum is that it provides a unique, dynamic aesthetic to almost any room of the house.

Remember, you don’t need built-in talent or even nimble fingers to learn a new instrument. All you need is the desire to learn and a can-do attitude, and you’ll be playing music in no time!

 

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