When I'm 64: A Review of Instrumental Music-making and Brain Health in Later Life


C. Jordan


Experimental Gerontology




According to the World Health Organization, global average life expectancy increased by 5.5 years between 2000 and 2016. This is the greatest increase in life expectancy since the 1960s. Identifying lifestyle choices which can be implemented in later life to support brain health are imperative given the increasing prevalence of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia. Music-making, specifically instrumental music-making, has been suggested to support cognition function and emotional wellbeing in later life. This review will distinguish instrumental music-making from other musical activities (i.e. singing or listening to music), specifically focusing on its influence on cognitive function in later life and its contribution to the emotional wellbeing and quality of life. This review will also explore the viability of instrumental music-making as an intervention to support brain health in later life.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Cognitive Abilities; Elderly; Emotional Functioning; Mental Health; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Psychological Outcomes; Quality of Life; Recorded Music Listening; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

Brain; Cognition; Emotions; Healthy Aging; Mental Health; Neurodegenerative Diseases; Quality of Life; Aging; Brain health; Instrumental music; Wellbeing

Study Type

Editorials, Opinions, Position Papers

PubMed ID


Document Type