Music is becoming a "powerful" activity for seniors - providing them with a social outlet, while also delivering the benefit of potentially delaying the onset of dementia.
Research has shown that a "tidal wave" of Alzheimer's and dementia is expected to topple heart disease as the leading cause of death in Australia, thanks to the country's ageing population.
Data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found Alzheimer's and dementia equated to the second leading cause of death in the Wagga Local Government Area, with 120 women dying compared to 71 men between 2013 and 2017.
While there is currently no cure for dementia, health experts believe that maintaining a healthy diet, participating in regular exercise and completing Sudoku and crosswords can lower the risk of dementia.
Local musicians are also spreading the mental and physical advantages of music participation in older adults.
I usually come out [of class] feeling absolutely shattered - in a good way.Lin Harding, viola player
Residents at The Grange Lifestyle Village have been meeting once a week since 2017 for their group string lesson, which is hosted by The Riverina Conservatorium of Music.
Lin Harding "dived" on the lessons and was the first resident to put her name down as an interested participant.
The 76-year-old has sung all her life, but after a decade long break she decided to pick up an instrument and learn the viola.
"String lessons are really good when you're older, because anything along the chest is really good exercise and really engages your brain," Mrs Harding said.
"The gap between your [head and arms] is quite vast. I usually come out [of class] feeling absolutely shattered - in a good way."
The group is made up of about five people, with three learning the violin, Mrs Harding on the viola and another playing the cello.
The ability to connect and engage with others and perform actions that would have otherwise been challenging is the glue binding the group together.
"It's really nice playing with other people, it's a very good thing to do and good for the neurons," Mrs Harding said.
"We all enjoy it and remarkably, despite people's health problems here and there and people being away, we've stuck together; we always meet.
"It strains the brain a bit ... I think I feel a bit more alert because of the music lessons but then I've always had music and when you don't have it, you really miss it."
The Con's CEO Hamish Tait said music not only has a profound effect on children's brains but also those in older adults.
"One of the things that starts to occur in older adults is a loss of hearing," Mr Tait said.
"It comes with age, it comes from the wear and tear of ear mechanisms and with a loss of hearing, comes hand-in-hand with cognitive decline.
"[Music] allows people to focus their hearing and to engage that sense in order to develop that further ... which has some powerful impacts in delaying the onset [of dementia]."
Mr Tait said many older people experience issues or concerns in social situations and by engaging them in social activities, it becomes an aspect of helping offset dementia.
"The power of learning an instrument, functioning with that and being able to participate in groups and ensembles ... it socialises [older people] as it keeps them engaged and gives them something to look forward to and that's very powerful," he said.
Lauren Davis, The Con's specialist adult music teacher, said the social benefits of playing music can have a "tremendous" influence on cognitive development.
"I think for me, the forming of a community and the social engagement is more important because the cognitive development will happen," she said.
"It's about providing an atmosphere where adults feel that they can do it.
"With some of my groups, if I'm not here one week they'll still get together, play, rehearse and laugh; generally it's fun for them and I think that's the most important thing ... so they can continue to do it at any level."
Ms Davies said through her time working with The Grange group she has witnessed their enthusiasm grow, which has had positive flow-on effects.
"There's more engagement with music ... and camaraderie develops with adult groups," she said.
Mr Tait referenced regionally based Dr Graham Sattler and his post-doctoral research, which explored the function of music within communities and how it benefits society.
"A huge part of it was looking at mental health," Mr Tait said.
"... having something really positive to engage in on a weekly basis is something that helps offset that loneliness and isolation ... which can all become early contributors to early onset of dementia."
Mr Tait, who has watched The Grange group as an outsider, said they have become close-knit and will happily meet during the holidays or when their teacher is away.
"That socialisation is really powerful and has allowed them to meet and engage with people they might not have otherwise thought they could have," he said.
"Some of the benefits for older adults too are still anecdotal; they're not backed up by huge research projects that have explored it.
"Therefore you look at it longitudinally, through age and participation, and the way these people are generally engaged in the wider world and [those playing music] are generally more likely to be engaged in community service activities."