Rod Russell, a piano teacher in Kelowna, says teaching music to older adults has a positive effect on the brain. - Credit: Contributed

Kelowna piano teacher encourages older adults to learn music

As an older adult, music has a positive impact on the brain, says Rod Russell

It’s never too late to learn an instrument.

Kelowna’s Rod Russell, of the Russell Music Academy, teaches his older students through audio and visual instructions worldwide.

He said playing music has a positive effect on the brain, and benefits older individuals.

“Playing music gives your brain a kind of a workout you can’t get anywhere else. They’ve found memory improves and anxiety goes away,” he said.

By “they” Russell is referring to a study called The Music Making and Wellness Project, by Midori Koga and Fredrick Tims of Michigan State University. The outcome of the research showed decreased anxiety in seniors who took music lessons versus those who did not. The music lessons also decreased levels of depression for students and a decreased perception of loneliness.

Russell’s students have also experienced the positive impact of music.

“Their stress goes way down, and if they’re depressed it cheers them up and it’s kind of interesting in this,” said Russell, referencing the feedback from his students. One student suffered from chronic loneliness but found by playing the piano she didn’t feel as lonely.

Russell said he enjoys teaching older students and finds they learn faster than children.

“They learn faster because they want to, and not only that, I think adults have a better-developed sense of rhythm,” he said.

The way he teaches his students is also easier to learn than the traditional way of memorizing notes and sheet music. The course is based on chord recognition, with learning simple chords with the left hand and a single note melody line, he said students can play recognizable songs faster than with note memorization.

He picked up this way to learn music in his youth, after being frustrated with trying to learn classical.

The course is aimed at the adult market because “what I found is I just teaching adults better because they want to learn, kids you teach them and they don’t want to be there,” he said.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Code for second photo:

Just Posted

Kelowna DJs organize own shows to fill gap in music scene

The DJs wanted to create somewhere people could enjoy their music safely

Rediscover Rutland: There’s never a dull moment in the neighbourhood

Laurel D’Andrea, with URBA, is sharing a few upcoming events

Kelowna budget carryovers won’t add to taxation demand

Council’s carryover budget requests will advance work for the city

Warm temperatures here to stay in Kelowna

Spring has finally sprung in the Central Okanagan

Kelowna welcomes building permit applications for “earth homes”

Kelowna welcomes carriage and container “earth homes” when mandatory inspections are completed

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

In Photos: Classic snowmobiles pushed to their limits in fun races

The Burner in Malakwa served as the venue for races show cases older sleds

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Okanagan organization helps provide water for all in Nepal

Presentation shares success of project at Okanagan Science Centre March 27

Most Read