One in 10 retirees want to travel to another country to learn to play a musical instrument. Retirement is the time in your life when you get to play and have fun. After years of hard labour to pay the tax man, it’s now time to work your way through something more pleasant – your bucket list.
A recent poll by Australia's REST Industry Super found that more than 50 per cent of retirees wanted to travel and one in every 10 wanted to to travel to learn how to play a musical instrument.
Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, a neuropsychologist from Emory University in Atlanta in the US says that “musical training can have a profound and lasting impact on the brain, creating additional neural connections that can last a lifetime and thus help compensate for cognitive declines later in life”.
So not only is learning a musical instrument fun, but it can help your brain function in your senior years. With that in mind, here’s a list of places around the world where you can learn a musical instrument.
Head to Geshaview, a quaint little village retreat in rural Bulgaria for some well-earned rest in an idyllic country setting of rolling green hills and verdant dense forest. This lush central area of Bulgaria is home to countless flora and fauna, streams, Roman paths and ancient forests.
In Geshaview the locals specialise in the arts and pride themselves on top-notch learning. So whether your interest lies in music, art, photography or languages (to name a few), there are classes for all levels of experience and the expert local teachers will have you tinkling the ivories or strumming up a dream in no time.
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If you are feeling decidedly mystical in your golden years, learning how to pluck and strum a Sitar may be the insight you are searching for. And where better to learn the Sitar than in one of India’s ancient holy cities – Varanasi?
Varanasi is not only one of the holiest sites in India but it is also the heartland of Indian music. But be prepared – this city is a collision of sight, sound and colour.
Does your heart skip a beat at the sounds of flamenco? Does your breath catch at the intricate fingering of the flamenco guitar? Then pack your blood pressure pills and head for the aromatic land of Andalusia in Spain, the birth place of flamenco.
In the enchanting city of Granada you will find Carmen de las Cuevas, a unique school of arts for foreigners. This school offers two-week intensive lessons in all things Spanish: flamenco guitar, flamenco dancing, Spanish history and language.
Explore the region while you are there and you will uncover a wonderful history that pays homage to the integration of Christianity and Islam in early centuries, which has left a rich tapestry of Christian and Moorish influences.
Learn to bash out a beat on an African drum. Book yourself in for an intensive course in African drums at the Kusun Study tour facility in Ghana, West Africa.
Kusun offers intensive learning on finding the rhythm of the Djembo (a powerful drum whose range stretches from a thunderclap to a whisper) and Kpanlogo (a traditional peg drum found in many African bands) drums.
The course takes place once a year in the village of Nungua. The course is normally four weeks but can be cut to two weeks if requested. Accommodation, transfers and all meals are included in the study price. Flights can be sourced independently through Flight Centre.
Country music enthusiasts can satisfy their yearning for bluegrass with a pilgrimage to the home of country – Nashville in the US state of Tennessee. Whether you are a complete novice or a casual tinkler, a short, intensive course in fiddling or banjo playing will have you sounding like a professional in no time.
Try the Nashville Clawhammer Camp or the popular Nashcamp – most camps run for a week and the instruction can be quiet intensive.
So what are you waiting for? Hop online or head to your nearest Flight Centre to book your musical mystery tour.