05 January 2024
By Ellie Palmer
Thinking about picking up a new skill this year? Try out the piano!
Learning a new skill like the piano certainly comes with its emotional, health and wellbeing benefits, regardless of what stage in life you find yourself in. If you're considering either learning the piano for the first time, or perhaps even returning to the piano after many years away, but you're looking for a bit of encouragement, you've come to the right place.
We've put together some piano-playing benefits with our friends at DecPlay, who themselves offer a unique piano tuition method for seniors.
Why not learn to play some of your favourite songs from your youth?
Perhaps you spent your Saturday nights as a teen out dancing to The Beatles, or Aretha Franklin, or Fleetwood Mac. You can find pretty much any music score for any song in existence online these days. Playing songs from your youth can certainly revive a lot of happy memories. Make it your 2024 aim to learn your favourite song!
2. Mental Stimulation
There's plenty of research out there to show that playing the piano is one of the most effective activities to keep your brain active.
Playing piano stimulates many of the key areas of your brain including your logical, creative, visual, auditory, emotional, and motor functions.
Studies also show that musicians are 64% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment or dementia, and that learning piano later in life can help to delay the onset of mild cognitive impairment and onset of Alzheimer's. You can check out the study in full here.
If you suffer from any arthritic or dexterity issues that require regular physiotherapy, taking up piano playing may just be the aid you've been looking for.
Just like with any other activity, the amount of playing you exert on your hands and wrists is likely going to be unique to you. Take it steady when you first start to play, and perhaps work with a teacher to help you find a level of playing that is achievable for you.
DecPlay offers a method designed for seniors as an alternative to the 'grind' of traditional, theory-heavy lessons. The course currently has thousands of students in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s - many of whom joined the course with dyslexia, low sight, arthritis, low hearing and muscular atrophy. The method uses numbers and patterns instead of traditional theory, making piano playing accessible to those even with the above challenges.
You can try out a free DecPlay lesson here.
If you've got a lot of life stories to tell, why not tell them through the piano? Playing the piano is a fantastic creative outlet and allows you to express yourself musically. It might be that you use the piano to tell stories from your life through compositions, or through improvising your favourite songs/pieces.
5. Socialising Opportunities
Being a part of a piano community can provide amazing opportunities for you to meet and chat with other like-minded pianists. DecPlay already has an incredible online community of piano lovers aged 65+ which we would highly recommend joining.
Being in a strong community like this can not only aid your own playing, it also gives you the opportunity to help others and contribute to someone else's playing journey!
6. Emotional Wellbeing
Learning a skill as impressive as the piano later in life really is something to be proud of, and to share with your loved ones... particularly if you've harboured doubts about your musical abilities throughout your life.
Being able to play your favourite songs on the piano can massively boost your self esteem, lift your spirits and improve your emotional wellbeing.
7. Growth and Purpose
Having a goal to work towards, even if it's small daily goals of 10 minutes of practice per day, will instil a drive and a purpose in you; and that's always a positive.
Our friends at DecPlay have developed a ground-breaking piano method that enables seniors to start playing songs quickly, make emotional and social connections through music and to introduce grandchildren to the joys of playing piano.
Declan Cosgrove, creator of the DecPlay method, says, "Learning to play piano may not seem the obvious choice, if you are seeking to improve your physical or mental health, however having taught piano to thousands of senior citizens across the globe, I can safely say that – in addition to learning a new skill – our piano students are enjoying enhanced mental and physical wellbeing, and even making new friends!"
Access a FREE DecPlay lesson here.