Retirement is accompanied by major changes in the life of an individual. Radical transformation in everyday life, transformation in the relationship to productivity too. For workaholics whose lives revolved around their careers, this is all confusing. But it's also an opportunity to take up new hobbies:it only takes time, which a retiree often doesn't know what to do with, and enthusiasm.
Whether you have always had a musical ear, or whether you are completely new to the subject, this is the perfect opportunity to get into music, for example. The practice of music, one of the favorites of the French (nearly a quarter of them already play an instrument), is also full of benefits for seniors. On the one hand, it allows you to continue to use your physical and cognitive abilities, which are sometimes neglected once your work clothes are put away forever. We can see rhythm as a form of gentle gymnastics, and therefore suitable for weakened bodies. And that's without counting the benefits for the brain:music stimulates areas related to language, motor skills and memory, among other things; it promotes coordination and stimulates creativity. It is also beneficial for stroke victims to indulge in music during their convalescence. On the other hand, it promotes a certain well-being:it is first of all good for self-confidence to tame new habits, but music has especially for many of us a strong emotional baggage. Playing it can be an exhilarating feeling. How better to use your retreat time than this?
Here are some tips for getting started.
It's never too late to get into the music. If children have a brain that is more malleable and willing to absorb new abilities, seniors have plenty of time to practice, and their gray matter still works very well:the brain is able to restructure itself throughout life. In addition, freed from the productivity imperatives of our industrial society, retirees can indulge in music for the simple pleasure of learning and playing, without putting pressure on themselves to be the best. If you have always regretted not having wanted or been able to learn an instrument, now is the time!
This does not mean, however, that all forms of discipline should be thrown out the window. On the contrary, music is also a language that you will have to learn. And your main assets in this area are those provided by your free time:patience and diligence. Why not allocate a time slot dedicated to training, and try to stick to it? Or set more or less long-term goals, such as playing in public for a date that is close to your heart? This discipline at work also has the virtue of restoring a form of structure to the suddenly disjointed life of certain retirees. Discipline, therefore, without being too strict with oneself:this practice must remain a hobby.
The first criterion to take into account is your “athletic” condition, so to speak. Playing music is certainly not an extreme sport, but the fact remains that it constitutes a physical activity. And who says physical activity, says form to exercise it. According to the physical capacities of each, certain instruments prove to be too demanding. Instruments that are too heavy (double bass, accordion, etc.) are not the most recommended, just like those that require strong dexterity, at least beyond a certain level, like the violin and the piano (for the latter, then prefer to smaller keyboards). Finally, wind instruments are unfortunately the least suitable for the elderly, who risk having great difficulty breathing down their lungs.
To these reflections is added that on the pleasure sought. Why do we want to play music? Is it a pleasure for the music lover wishing to reproduce his favorite melodies himself, or a pleasure linked to the gesture? This questioning will influence the choice of the instrument, but the practice of the latter will also be taken into account. Do you want to become a virtuoso, or just have fun? All of this must be considered since, as mentioned above, some instruments are more suited to “dilettante” practice than others. On the other hand, if it is a particular timbre that enchants you, then do not hesitate to set your sights on this instrument. Just keep in mind the challenges each one brings.
Finally, a suggestion for the most tech-savvy retirees, who after all are becoming less and less rare these days. If you are not resistant to the idea of not playing a “live” instrument, why not be tempted by computer-assisted music software (MAO)? This is not about learning to play an instrument, but about composing music yourself. In other words, to write the score that the orchestra will play — except that the orchestra here is your computer! If their interface can seem intimidating and hostile, once mastered these software do not even require prior musical knowledge or any virtuosity (which makes it a very interesting option for physically impaired people but nevertheless music lovers). Only your creativity counts here!
Finally, another question arises:where and how to learn your instrument? It depends above all on your personality, but also on your wallet.
A music school will be better suited to a person who is more comfortable in groups and thus able to cross the generational bridge. And while it can be intimidating to mingle with young people full of enthusiasm, an emulating dynamic can also ensue. The contact of the youngest can motivate, and the inevitable comparison and healthy competition that result from it too. This is also the operating principle of intergenerational choirs, which mix schoolchildren and residents of retirement homes, and at the same time create social ties between the members. This can be a real plus for fresh retirees tired of spending too much time alone at home.
Conversely, you may prefer a private tutor for various reasons. This one will offer you attention that you will not find in a group. Some teachers are more used to working with seniors. It's up to you to inquire to find a private teacher near you, and to see if the contact goes through.
Again, this choice depends above all on the type of practice you have in mind. Do you intend to perform in public one day? Is music for you a personal pleasure or an activity rooted in social life? There are as many ways to make music as there are musicians, the important thing is to find yours!