5 Best Instruments for Senior Citizens To Learn

Some of the links below are affiliate links, so we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Check our disclaimer for more info. (* = affiliate link)

Senior citizens experienced a lot of what life has to offer, and there is still room to learn even more things. Learning how to play a musical instrument is a useful skill for anyone, even if you don’t plan to make a career of it. It’s relaxing, can provide others and yourself with joy, and you get great satisfaction from being good at doing it, but what are the best musical instruments for senior citizens to learn?

Some of the best musical instruments for senior citizens to learn are the piano, guitar, and drums. These are all considered “standard” instruments, sure, but they are extremely versatile in the type of music you can produce with them, and they aren’t too difficult to learn.

There are even more musical instruments for senior citizens to learn, and so if you’d like to get advice on even more options or want to know why learning a musical instrument is beneficial in the first place, keep reading to learn more!

Why Learn a Musical Instrument as a Senior?

You may be thinking to yourself that learning how to play a musical instrument in this stage of life is daunting. After all, many people devote their entire lives to mastering their craft since they were a kid.

However, it’s important to remember that musical instruments generally have a high skill ceiling, but a low barrier of entry, and the basics can be understood in a relatively short amount of time. You don’t have to be a master to enjoy playing music; many people do it simply for their own enjoyment.

Before getting into musical instruments that are beneficial to learn, we will go over five reasons why learning a musical instrument is beneficial.

It Boosts Confidence

Like any new undertaking, as soon as you begin to become more comfortable and familiar with everything you are doing, you build confidence in finishing that task. The further you advance into your musical practice, the more understanding and knowledge you have of your musical instrument, the further you become confident in your abilities.

Playing an instrument in a public setting can help people feel confident in presenting their work in a non-academic circumstance and boost their nerves when it comes to examinations and evaluations. In fact, there is no better feeling than completing a challenging task and having the ability to get it perfected. This sense of self-achievement can filter on different areas of your life and assist you in achieving more!  

It Improves Your Mood

Music has a special impact on our emotions, so it may make us happy or depressed, or perhaps reevaluate the present emotion we’re feeling. Various studies have proven that music can help keep you calm. It has been demonstrated to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, reducing blood pressure cortisol, thereby making us feel rested. 

While listening to music helps, studies have demonstrated that learning how to play an instrument brings relaxation and everyday repetition, which can help keep away the stress. Music can decrease anxiety by helping people interact with other people. Music may have a very relaxing effect on our bodies and minds, particularly slow, soft music.  

It’s a New Hobby To Explore

People today fill their lives with hobbies that make them joyful or provide them an escape from the dull repetition of day to day life.  

Other passive hobbies like watching TV or scrolling through social websites often don’t really add much to our life; in contrast, songs engage and stimulate our minds, making us alive and happy in our own time. Music has the exceptional quality to bring joy, peace, and fulfillment, which can help lift up the mood and make life enjoyable for everybody involved.

It Improves Your Memory

It has been extensively studied and demonstrated that studying a musical instrument enhances memory, and it not only enhances your cognitive memory but also your muscle memory.  

Learning how to play a musical instrument requires utilizing both the left and right part of your brain, which is more challenging and enhances your memory. Scientists have used music coaching as a technique of neuro-rehabilitation to help boost the role of the brain.  

It Gives Your Brain a Workout

Studies have revealed that people who had received some sort of musical teachings were generally more intelligent than their counterparts. This is strongly correlated with the fact that learning a musical instrument enhances memory; as either side of their brain has been engaged, it develops not just memory but also additional abilities.

It goes without saying that some of the smartest people living have been indulged in music coaching.

Now that we have established why learning an instrument is beneficial no matter your age, we will go over instruments that are great for senior citizens to learn. Our picks are based on how easy they are to learn and/or how versatile they are. 


The guitar may be a cliche recommendation, but it really is one of the best musical instruments to learn for any demographics. You can play many different genres with a guitar alone due to the variation in types of guitars available. 

The majority of folks can learn basic chords and scales rather fast. Then, you can turn your hand into the other abilities you will need to be able to master this instrument. Finally, though, you’re going to have the ability to play an entire selection of songs. 

Make sure you check out sites like Ultimate Guitar to discover tabs (a favorite alternative to conventional sheet music) for most of your favorite tunes. Opportunities can arise for you to join a ring or to play in local festivals and bars. You might even play with your own little gigs to your nearest and dearest.   

Additionally, the guitar will improve your attention span and sharpen your memory. You will also become a fantastic multitasker; as Liberty Park Music clarifies, “The guitar is usually regarded as the hippest musical instrument to find out.” There are loads of alternatives available also: from electrical to acoustic, classical to bass, all supply various sounds and styles.


Another popular choice is the drums. Learning the drums can be considered quite easy in comparison to many other instruments. This instrument can be as simple as doing basic beats on a single drum or as complex as having a full set up.

Some of the core reasons to learn to play drums include:

  • It will help build coordination
  • It is one of the most fun instruments
  • It’s a good workout
  • It relieves stress (if you like hitting things, it will be up your alley!)

Drumming is one of the most satisfying musical instruments. By catching that instinctive urge to produce rhythmic sound, playing drums allows you to feel very good. Why? The physical action of drumming makes the body release endorphins, very similar to when you complete a higher intensity exercise. And as you get older, staying active is very important.

If you want something that isn’t too difficult to learn, keeps you active, and is downright fun, drumming may be for you!



5 Best Instruments for Senior Citizens To Learn


The harmonica is a less common option compared to other musical instruments on our listing. But we think that it’s a fantastic selection for novices. 

The harmonica is ideal for fans of blues, folk, and even country music. You can pick up a harmonica for below $10, and many of them will fit in your pocket, which means it’s possible to go anywhere to perform or practice.

Additionally, by studying harmonica, you will improve your lung capacity and breath management. Some physicians in the United States are starting their own harmonica groups to assist patients with lower lung capacity as well as other respiratory troubles. Additionally, playing the harmonica may also form a part of healing remedies for survivors of strokes since it strengthens facial muscles and coordination.


We can’t mention musical instruments in general without talking about the piano. It might be a bit tricky at first compared to a harmonica, but it is incredibly rewarding to learn.

It is very versatile, letting you play music in a vast array of genres. This instrument will aid your coordination, as you’ll often play with unique melodies with every hand. 

Because the piano is so popular, you will for sure be able to find teachers in your area. But if you do not have time or the budget to book one-on-one classes, don’t despair. A number of the all-time greatest pianists are self-taught, and don’t worry about having to read off sheet music while playing; you do not need it if you don’t want it. Many YouTube tutorials will teach you tunes by sight, revealing which keys to press in which order.

Learning how to play the piano will even expand your cultural awareness as you find new music you want to play. A conventional upright piano will likely cost you a couple of hundred dollars.

But fear not, buying a piano can be surprisingly accessible; when hearing the word “piano,” many people picture those huge, heavy, and expensive instruments. However, for those on a tighter budget, you can grab a digital keyboard for under $90 that is chock full of features such as this Ohuhu Digital Musical Piano Keyboard.


5 Best Instruments for Senior Citizens To Learn


In simple terms, a ukelele is similar to a guitar but “simpler” and smaller. Don’t take that as “inferior”; however, ukuleles have their own unique sounds and are one of the easier instruments to learn. 

The ukulele has four strings, and it is considerably smaller than a guitar using a thinner neck, which makes it great for smaller hands.

Additionally, it is simple to discover ukuleles in a wide variety of vivid colors and layouts if you are searching to express your character. In terms of the instrument, the ukulele has a bright and joyous noise. Many men and women grasp the crucial ukulele chords within a few weeks, which puts you at an ideal place to play more elaborate music or progress into violin or guitar.

Can You Be Too Old To Learn an Instrument?

Some people might be wondering whether it is too late for them to pick up an instrument and learn. The answer is no! 

As we discussed above, some instruments are going to be more difficult than others to learn, but getting the basics down for most instruments isn’t going to take too long. With the online resources available to you today, you don’t even have to leave your home to learn if you don’t want to. 

You don’t have to have the goal of being an expert at whatever instrument you want to learn. Playing because you like to do it is enough of a reason to learn. Don’t compare yourself to people who started when they were young and have become amazing at their craft after a lifetime of practice. 

In addition, some people pick up on how to play an instrument quicker than others. Sometimes a piano can “click” with someone, especially if they are proficient at typing on a computer keyboard already. You can experiment around to see which musical instrument works best for you, but don’t give up before you even try! 

Where Can You Look To Learn an Instrument?

There may be a school near you that has lessons for the instrument of your choice, especially if the instrument is popular such as the piano or guitar. You can simply type in “Piano lessons near me” into Google to see if there is a school or private lessons in your area.

Alternatively, you can turn to Youtube, where you can get the basics on how to play instruments absolutely for free. It’s as simple as typing in “how to play (your instrument of choice) for beginners” and selecting one of the top few results. You can usually gauge the quality of the video based on views and the like to dislike ratio.

You could also turn to Skillshare, a site dedicated to teaching people how to do practically anything you can think of, including playing instruments. Many of the videos on the website are free, but some aren’t, and they require a $20 per month subscription fee. Still, that is cheaper than in-person lessons, and you don’t have to leave your home and risk yourself in a pandemic. 

Which Instrument Is Best for Seniors With Arthritis?

Arthritis affects many seniors and can prevent them from doing everything that they want to do. For example, the piano may not be the best choice in this instance since that instrument demands maneuverability of the fingers. However, you could make it work if you want to play simpler songs. If you want to test out how well you can play the piano, you can use an iPad or another tablet and test how you do with a piano/keyboard app if you have one lying around.

The guitar or ukulele might be tricky as well, depending on how severe the arthritis is. Some say that it can make the condition increasingly worse, but this has no real backing. In fact, it can help with arthritis, provided you can comfortably play the instrument.

As for the most compatible instruments for seniors with arthritis, the harmonica is one of the best options. It’s a relatively simple instrument that doesn’t demand complex finger movement, 

Alternatively, the drums can be a good fit if you can get a grip on the drumsticks and the impact doesn’t cause any pain. You can even play drums with only your hands. A popular example of this type of drum would be the bongo, which is about as simple as instruments can get. 

We mentioned experimenting with a tablet computer above, such as an iPad. Music doesn’t just come from analog instruments these days, and you can make some pretty nice music via simple apps such as Figure. 

If you already have an iPad, this might be great for you if you are looking to create a variety of music without needing to learn overly complicated software. The benefit of playing music on an iPad is that you don’t need to use complex finger movements to get the job done – you simply need to tap and let the magic happen! Many seniors already have an iPad of some kind, so we thought to at least briefly mention this option. 

Alternatively, you can use Nodebeat, which is available on both iOS and Android while being specifically marketed towards people of all ages, whether young or old. 


There are plenty of ways for a senior citizen to pick up making music. The guitar is a very popular and versatile instrument, and it can click with you with some practice. The piano is also a nice choice. If you want to learn something simpler, the ukulele or harmonica may be the right choice for you since they are understandable almost immediately and are small enough to be transported around easily.

If you’d like more insight on this topic, we have linked a video explaining the health benefits of playing an instrument:



Hey there, my name is Ruth, I'm in my late fifties. My life was turned upside down a few years ago as I experienced a burn-out. But I saw it as a sign that something had to change in my life. I'm happy I used this tough experience as a stepping stone. I now feel happier than ever and hope to inspire you to do the same, no matter how old you are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts