The Benefits of Music for Retirees: Learning a New Instrument

retired couple learning guitar

Retirement can bring a lot of changes to one’s daily routine, but it also presents an opportunity to try new things and pursue long-held passions. 

For many retirees, taking up a musical instrument can provide numerous benefits and bring joy and fulfillment to their golden years. Whether you’re a beginner or have played music before, learning a new instrument can stimulate the brain, improve physical abilities, boost emotional well-being, and provide a sense of accomplishment. 

Let’s explore the numerous benefits of music for retirees and the impact of learning a new instrument in detail. 

Improves Cognitive Function

Studies have consistently shown that playing a musical instrument can have a positive impact on cognitive function in seniors. When playing an instrument, multiple areas of the brain are simultaneously engaged, leading to improved cognitive skills. 

One of the key areas that benefits from musical training is memory. By learning new musical pieces, retirees can help maintain their memory skills, and in some cases, even improve them. 

Playing an instrument requires continuous concentration, which can help improve attention span and focus.

Learning a new musical instrument provides a unique form of cognitive stimulation. Unlike other forms of exercise that only engage specific areas of the brain, playing music requires a combination of fine motor skills, memory recall, and auditory processing. 

This multifaceted stimulation can help keep the brain active and alert, reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

The act of practicing and learning a new musical piece is a form of mental exercise that can help retirees maintain their cognitive abilities and even improve them. Regular practice requires focus, memory recall, and the ability to process new information, all of which can help improve cognitive skills.

Helps You Stay Physically Active

Playing a musical instrument is not just good for the brain, it’s also great for the body. Many instruments, such as the piano and guitar, require fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, which can help improve dexterity and hand strength. 

This type of exercise can be especially important for retirees, who may be looking for low-impact activities that are easy on their joints.

Brings People Together

Playing an instrument can be a social activity that can bring retirees together with others who share a passion for music. Joining a local band or music group can provide an opportunity to meet new people, form new friendships, and engage in a shared hobby. 

This sense of community and connection can be especially beneficial for retirees who may be feeling lonely or isolated.

Playing a musical instrument can also provide a sense of accomplishment and improve self-esteem. Whether it’s playing for family and friends or participating in local music events, the act of performing can be a source of pride and a boost to one’s confidence.

Music Brings Joy

Music has the power to bring joy and fulfillment to people of all ages, and retirees are no exception. Whether playing alone or with others, making music can bring a sense of joy and satisfaction that can help retirees combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. 

Music has therapeutic benefits and can be used as a tool to manage stress and anxiety. By creating music, retirees can escape from the worries of everyday life and experience a sense of calm and relaxation. The repetitive and rhythmic nature of playing an instrument can help to create a meditative state that reduces stress and promotes well-being.

Retirement can bring about feelings of boredom, loss of purpose, and a sense of being unproductive. Learning a new musical instrument can help retirees overcome these feelings by providing a sense of purpose and accomplishment. 

Whether it’s learning to play a favorite song, performing for family and friends, or simply enjoying the process of getting better, the act of creating music can bring a sense of pride and satisfaction.

The process of learning a new musical instrument requires dedication, focus, and patience, which can be a source of fulfillment for retirees. The sense of accomplishment that comes from mastering a new skill can bring a sense of pride and help boost self-esteem. And, as retirees progress and get better, they can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they have improved their musical abilities.

A Source of Inspiration

Playing a musical instrument can be a source of inspiration and creativity. By engaging in the creative process, retirees can tap into their imagination, explore new ideas, and unleash their artistic expression. 

Whether composing original music, arranging cover songs, or improvising, retirees can find new avenues of expression and fulfillment through music.

What Instruments Should You Consider Learning?

When considering which musical instrument to learn, it is important to choose one that appeals to you personally and matches your abilities and interests. 

woman playing piano

Some instruments, such as the violin, are challenging to learn and require a significant amount of dedication, while others, such as the ukulele or the harmonica, are easier to learn and can be picked up more quickly. 


For retirees who enjoy classical music, the violin may be a great choice. The violin is a versatile and expressive instrument that is capable of playing a wide range of music styles, from classical to folk and even jazz. 

Learning to play the violin requires a significant amount of practice and dedication, but the rewards are well worth it. The violin has a unique sound that is warm and expressive, and the instrument’s versatility allows players to perform a wide range of musical styles. 

The violin is an excellent option for retirees who are looking to challenge their musical abilities and develop their technical skills.


For retirees who are looking for a new hobby, a musical instrument that is relatively easy to learn and can be played at home, such as the guitar, may be a good option.

The guitar is an excellent choice for retirees who are looking for a hobby that provides both physical and cognitive benefits. Playing the guitar requires the use of fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity, which can help improve physical abilities and hand strength. Learning the guitar provides cognitive benefits, such as improving memory and attention.

For retirees who enjoy singing, playing the guitar can provide a new outlet for self-expression and creativity. The guitar can be used to accompany singing, or it can be played solo, offering a new outlet for artistic expression and creativity.


If you are looking for an instrument that provides a physical workout, consider playing the drums or percussion instruments. 

These instruments require the use of your entire body, including your arms, legs, and torso, which can help keep you physically active and improve your coordination and motor skills. 


Learning a new musical instrument can provide numerous benefits for retirees, including improved cognitive function, physical activity, emotional well-being, and a sense of purpose. 

Whether playing alone or with others, taking up a musical instrument can bring joy and fulfillment to the retirement years

So, why not pick up a guitar, take some violin lessons, or join a local band and see what music can do for you!