Learning to play Musical Instruments
This is a hobby that can really engage you. As you concentrate to work out where to put your fingers for which note, how to make a nice sound (and remembering to breathe at the same time), your other cares and stresses of daily life disappear into the background for a while.
Then as you progress in your new pastime; you may find that your musical hobby is helping you to feel a bit more fulfilled and you are enjoying feeling a little creative.
Or maybe something inspired you, some poignant sound that sent you on a journey to bring some more beauty into your life. Here is the story of one such musical instrument for me - read Duduk.
You don't have to be able to read music to learn an instrument so don't be put off by that it helps, but it's not a necessity. Also you are never too old, or too young to learn to play; because you are playing for your own enjoyment. You can strive for goals so that you feel you are progressing forward but you don't have to put pressure on yourself. And if it works out maybe later on you can join with other players and your music can become a social thing too.
It helps to have a teacher who can show you how to play and guide you from time to time, but there are also many good self-teaching packages online, books and on DVD. However you choose to learn, the thing that really makes the difference is playing and practising on your own, even for just a few minutes a day. It will help you get acquainted and be able to find your way around your instrument, and make things feel familiar to you which will help your confidence. Don't expect miracles when you first are starting out; it does take a bit of time and persistence to become fluent with your instrument but you can still have fun all along the way and remember to give yourself some praise.
From the very beginning you will be improving and exercising your body and brain co-ordination, even if you are feeling clumsy or all over the place! This can cross over and help you in other areas in your life even though you may not notice at first. That's why I am saying learning an instrument can have hidden benefits for people of all ages.
For instance I had chronic bronchitis and breathing problems when I was a young child. I was sometimes struggling to breathe and at those times breathing seemed a bit of a fearful thing that could hurt. It was suggested learning a wind instrument may be helpful. It turned out I was really musical and loved playing. I found a whole new career and my breathing trouble cleared up as I also learnt about breathing and health. I am not saying that would work for everyone, and I had youth on my side, but it's certainly an interesting approach. I also learnt to play the piano, which years later made it very easy for me to learn to touch-type.
Of course as well as trying to play an instrument yourself there is also enjoyment & learning from listening and watching others play. You can be a critic in your own living room as you listen and compare different players on CD, radio or TV. You will hear that different players have slightly different sounds and styles even if they are playing the same music. You can choose whose sound you like best. Even more exciting may be going to hear your instrument played live in a concert either on its own, or in an ensemble, band or orchestra.
People have been playing with all different ways to make sounds and music for as long as we've been around. Remember the ancient trumpets found in the tomb of Tutankhamen Through the centuries the reasons for playing musical instruments may have been for ceremony, big occasions or small, religion, social fun, as part of a general good education or just for personal pleasure. So whether you decide to choose wind, string, electronic or percussion instrument etc. know that you are in very good company and following in a long tradition. But don't be overawed; just have fun!