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More people playing music, practicing hobbies during pandemic

Mental health experts say it could be good for body, mind
Posted at 9:13 AM, Dec 22, 2020

Music can move the soul.

Learning to carry a tune or play a chord can be a much-needed break from reality

“Certainly, it helps people to heal in more than one way,” said Ty Hughes, music director at School of Rock Denver.

He’s been teaching students online since the pandemic hit.

“A lot of people are inspired to teach themselves a new skill or rather to work on a new skill, and take up a lot of the time they’re finding they have on their hands during these troubled times here,” he said.

Recently, Hughes’ student base has grown from children to an older audience.

“I’ve had at least about 75% more adults show up on my schedule these days,” he said.

People like health care worker Janae Martinez, who started playing her guitar again while staying safe a home

“It was very therapeutic for me in general,” she said of playing music. “So, I knew that I needed it again during the pandemic.”

The mother of two says practicing playing helps her focus on things other than the virus.

“It heals. It quiets my mind,” Martinez said. “It eases my soul if you will.”

With more adults taking music lessons and picking up other hobbies during the pandemic, mental health experts say these activities can help the mind and body.

“The feeling that I think some people had at the beginning of the pandemic is like, ‘everything is going to hell. How can I make the best of this,’” said Sean Ransom, Ph.D., clinical director at the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Center of New Orleans.

He says if things someone enjoys are taken away, like many were during the COVID-19 crisis, it helps to find something else that brings meaning into their life.

“Hobbies have their own benefit that bring us a sense of accomplishment,” Ransom said. “They bring us a sense of growth.”

While an online experience might not be enough for some people who prefer more social interaction, there’s still benefits from this type of training.

“It’s been an adjustment but that’s what music has always been about is adapting to the times,” Hughes said

He added that it’s never too late to learn something new.

”Music is the healing answer,” Hughes said. ”Music is the magic. That’s what we’re going to keep going at.”