Morningside School of Music in Edinburgh has attracted growing interest from adults with more free time in the wake of the pandemic and associated lockdowns.
Now, they’re calling on older participants to consider getting involved, highlighting the many physical and mental health benefits that this brings.
Since retiring just before the Covid pandemic hit, Helen King planned to use her new free time productively.
She now has three months of drumming lessons with the school and has an electric kit to train at her home in Edinburgh between lessons.
“It’s the fastest half hour of my week,” she said.
“When I leave the lesson, I can’t wait to come home and use what I just learned to try and improve myself.
“I find it exhilarating, I would recommend it to anyone. “
The multiple health benefits that flow from musical activity are one of the driving motivations for his engagement.
“Obviously playing the drums is a physical activity, but it’s also a mental activity – you have to focus on synchronizing your mind and body all the time.
“For me, sitting is death – it’s so important as you get older to do things that keep you physically and mentally active.
“I believe in lifelong learning. Since I started classes in July, I have had a couple of retired friends who have asked me about it, showing an interest in learning an instrument.
“I’m still a little nervous when I first go to the training room and it takes a few minutes to get settled in. It’s just the preparation to pull together everything you’ve been practicing over the week and show the teacher you’re making progress, which I think I am.
Helen added that for those worried about Covid, classes within the school itself were completely safe.
“You feel very safe when you’re in there,” she said. “Everything is perfectly clean and there is a distance and Perspex screens between you and the professor. “
And with the school open during the day and evening, she said learning an instrument can fit into anyone’s schedule.
“I have plenty of things to do in the evening and it’s during the day that I have time. So the availability of day classes really suits me.
Linda Boyd, Principal of the Morningside School of Music, said: “Many of our older students point to the many health benefits they derive from using an instrument.
“There have been all kinds of studies showing that learning an instrument can help prevent common illnesses like dementia.
“It also opens up opportunities for people who may not have considered doing things like playing with others or even in concert.
“Since the lockdown we’ve seen more and more adults come forward looking for something different in their lives.
“We’re here to meet everyone’s needs and take great pleasure in providing these learning opportunities to people, as unlikely as they once thought. “