What About those Piano Lessons?
At the halftime of life, (How do You Know You’re at Halftime?) it would seem like you could finally make time for you, even adding music and art in your life. What about those piano lessons you’d like to pick up again? You quit so long ago but now you keep putting it off—life is so busy! However, more and more studies show that benefits abound with the addition of music and art in your life, so picking those lessons back up again could be good for your health! The arts have the power to stimulate the brain in profound and long-term ways.
One of the keys to adding music and art back in your life and creating some you time is finding a community. In music this can be an online community that will help you get back to your instrument or voice with accountability and instruction. For art, there are community classes in colleges and local cities including ceramics, pottery paint and sip studios and more. Here, we will talk about three areas to help you determine if and how you can make time for music and art. First, the benefits of music and art. Second, how to make time for music and art. And third, the importance of accountability and community in pursuing music and art. First, the benefits.
Benefits of Music and Art
Music actually activates every part of the brain. A major study revealed that those who participated in weekly arts programs, including music, showed better health, fewer doctor visits, less medication usage, more positive responses on mental health measures, and more involvement in overall activities.* That information by itself should motivate most to add music back into their life. The benefits abound for kids as well. (See Music for Kids)
Did you know that Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet has a hidden talent? As one of the most successful and wealthy investors in the world he’s also an accomplished ukulele player! There are many studies that confirm that music protects against memory problems and cognitive decline even more so than other leisure activities. Music can also help with the psychological aspects of illness and can improve the quality of life in patients with cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s, and chronic pain. That provides even more reasons to add music and art!
How to Make Time for Music and Art
There is no magic formula for creating time in a busy schedule for music and art. With the rise of technology, our lives have become even busier and more complicated. When trying to create extra time, you need to decide to make the time. At the halftime of life, some are now pursuing their ideal work and lifestyle. In doing so, carving out extra time for music and art may feel like a luxury. But as we just saw, the benefits outweigh the downside. Ten to fifteen minutes a day for practicing an instrument or working on a small art project is really all you need to start.
Another hurdle is the mindset that you have no talent and have no artistic ability. My response to you here is, So what? These projects are for you—you never need to play an instrument for anyone else. With keyboards, there are earphones. With art, you can put your work in a closet. With the number of small projects that are available in hobby stores (I love Hobby Lobby!) there is really no excuse for having nothing to do! Talent is not needed here. Just the desire to do something creative! Create a regular time in your day to do this. Recently, I’ve been reviewing some classical literature I played years ago, so I go to my Blüthner grand at the end of my workday and spend about 20 minutes practicing. It’s become a new routine and I love it!
The Importance of Accountability and Community in Music and Art
There is a reason community choirs are so popular. They create a community where a group of people are working together toward a common goal—usually a concert. I have attended some of those concerts where I wonder if anyone in the audience is hearing what I can hear. Such as, the Acapella piece (no instrumental accompaniment) where it sounded like every section was singing in a different key. It was pure cacophony to my ears! But there were smiles all around and the choir was so into the piece.
I left that concert, where I knew a couple of members, with the realization that the purpose was not just to perform classic choral literature, but to create a positive experience for the members. That experience included members learning their parts, saving for their trips (they are going to Italy this year!) and creating lasting friendships. That is just for one choir and this is duplicated in communities all around the world! There are also many houses of worship that have groups. I do encourage those who audition to at least an ear for pitch and rhythm!
One of the reasons I will be creating an online community for those who want to play piano or sing again is to provide both accountability and encouragement. Technology has now made creating a group like this possible anywhere in the world. This means a woman in a remote area who’d like to learn her chords or review the pieces she played so long ago can start playing again with a portable keyboard she can keep in her closet.
You can find online art courses most anywhere, though I encourage attending a community class where you can paint, laugh and create with others. My dear mother started her ceramic and porcelain work as a hobby. This grew into a full-on business where she taught large groups how to pour, paint and fire figurines. My sisters and I grew up playing in the mud, as I call it, creating those figurines, reproduction dolls and even Lladro pieces. The memories created around those art tables are priceless to me now as well as many others who were touched by her generous, artistic hand.
Whatever you decide to do, realize it is not time wasted. You are doing something for yourself, your brain and your stress level. It’s time to enjoy music and art in a more significant way once again!