Page 10

Lifestyle

Hobbies

What your brain can gain from a music-making hobby… When did you last pick up a musical instrument and play a piece of music from beginning to end? Last week? Last month? Last year? Sadly for most people the answer is quite likely to be: “Not since I was a child.” Musicians are most likely to develop their abilities during childhood. It’s the ideal time to learn basic skills such as reading music and playing an instrument, but as children turn into teenagers it’s not unusual to find that the pleasures of learning and playing are sacrificed to the pressures of taking exams, studying at college or university and – eventually – taking up full-time work. Although it may be hard to find the time to make music as a busy adult, much attention has recently been focused on the physiological benefits of learning to play an instrument. For example, a study based on 157 sets of twins discovered that those who were able to make music were 33% less likely to suffer from dementia. Recent research has also suggested that playing music can improve listening skills, encourage better self-discipline, help with memory and even increase the IQ of both children and adults. In 2009 the University of Zurich conducted research with people aged 65 and over and discovered that playing an instrument for an hour a week produced strong changes in the brain. So whether you’re returning to an instrument you once loved to play, or learning for the first time, you can enjoy your hobby in the knowledge that you’re not just bringing pleasure to others through your music, you are enhancing your brain’s capabilities. If you’re feeling insecure about your musical skills, those first few steps towards learning (or returning to) a musical instrument will be crucial. There are many resources out there, so take your time exploring the

1010

options to find a solution that’s tailor-made for your level of skill and experience. You may be able to access adult education services. Pick up a prospectus at the local library or search online to find a suitable course. Some adult learning institutes let you try a taster session so you can decide if the lessons are appropriate before you book an entire course. Alternatively, find a local tutor by searching the Music Teachers UK website (www.musicteachers.co.uk). This organisation offers a free service to help musicians with every aspect of education and performance and the site provides some valuable information, including a helpful guide to selecting a music teacher. If you are returning to music and have retained some basic (if rusty) skills, you might enjoy joining up with a local amateur music group, or even putting together a group from scratch. Making Music (www.makingmusic.org.uk) helps its members to set up, run and develop music groups in their communities. Whatever your interest in music, whether it’s performing to concert level or joining an amateur ukulele orchestra, it can be a hugely rewarding hobby. Apart from the hours of pleasure you’ll get from playing, science suggests that your brain is likely to stay sharp well into old age. By Kate McLelland

To advertise contact Ruth: T: 01332 883140 M: 07545 261034 E: ruth@allthingslocal.co.uk

All Things Local - Ripley Edition - December 2017/January 2018  

A FREE community magazine distributed to 9,000 homes & businesses in Ripley, Codnor, Marehay & Waingroves in Derbyshire.

All Things Local - Ripley Edition - December 2017/January 2018  

A FREE community magazine distributed to 9,000 homes & businesses in Ripley, Codnor, Marehay & Waingroves in Derbyshire.

Advertisement