While September is Healthy Aging Month, it seems a good time to underscore the health benefits of music, particularly when it comes to preserving cognitive functions and helping ward off chronic disease. Generally speaking, listening to and playing music does make us happier and healthier, both individually and on a global social level. Who doesn’t need to tap into that right now?
There is an increasing body of scientific evidence that demonstrates the wider benefits of musical activity. Specifically, research in the sciences associated with music suggests that there are many dimensions of human life—including physical, social, educational, psychological (cognitive and emotional)—that can be affected positively by successful engagement in music. (1)
You’re never too old to take up playing an instrument.
Research shows that the positive health benefits from playing any instrument can be reaped at any age. Besides being fun, Vincent Reina, owner of Music to Your Home in New York City and musician, tells us that learning and playing a musical instrument can have many positive effects on your health and mental wellness, including the following benefits:
Improves Cognitive Performance
It has been shown that playing and listening to music can help improve memory in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Playing music has even been shown to help people recover from strokes as well as slow down the onset of dementia and Alzheimers.
Improved Immune System
Research between Tenovus Cancer Care and the Royal College of Music has found that singing for an hour can increase levels of immune proteins, reduce stress and improve people’s mood. Studies have also shown that making music enhances the immunological response, which enables us to fight viruses.
Playing an instrument can help refocus bad energy into something positive and enjoyable, which in turn can help alleviate stress. Reduced stress levels lead to slowing down your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. Research shows that playing and composing music can reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels.
Improves Respiratory System
Whether you’re singing show tunes or blowing into a saxophone or oboe, one of the most important things you can learn is how to breathe properly. Producing a good sound on any wind instrument is dependent on your breath, making breathing with the proper technique a must. So while you are in the pursuit of becoming a great singer or woodwind player you are actually also improving your respiratory system.
Playing an instrument can be a great form of physical activity. Playing the piano, guitar or drums takes a lot of upper body strength and playing for extended periods of time can help build muscle while also improving your posture and increasing your stamina.
It does seem to be a “no brainer” that everyone can reap health benefits from adding music to their lives.
If you would like to learn more about Music to Your Home, you can find that here: https://www.musictoyourhome.com/