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Musical Instrument Tips and Recommendations for Seniors

Do you, your loved one or care community own any instruments? 

Instrument play is fun and can provide opportunities for playfulness and self-expression as well as physical movement. Playing small percussion instruments for example can target various physical and cognitive goals by addressing fine and gross motor movement, crossing midline, eye-hand coordination, rhythmic entrainment, visual tracking, body and spatial awareness, and visual or auditory cues.

Small percussion instruments like maracas are generally easy to pick up and play without any previous knowledge or experience. Don’t worry about sounding good or playing correctly. You don’t necessarily need to know how to play. Start by exploring the instrument and see what sounds you can make.

If you'd like to get some instruments for your care home or particular setting, I recommend West Music - they have a huge selection of quality instruments at reasonable prices. Some of our favorite older-adult friendly instruments to use include maracas, tambourines, jingle bells, eggs shakers and paddle drums. For a couple of more unique instrument options, check out an Easycussion pentatonic xylophone, Suzuki QChord, or an ocean drum.   

Try encouraging participants to play their instrument however they’d like. Percussion instruments can be played a lot of different ways…loudly, softly, above the head, down to the ground, side-to-side, in a circle, fast or slow. Remind them often that anything goes and to have fun!

Musical instruments make a wonderful addition to our music therapist-created program for senior care! If you’d like access to high quality music engagement videos, check out Bridgetown Music Therapywhere we are sparking joy, engaging seniors musically, creating connections and enriching lives every day!


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