The Benefits of Learning a Musical Instrument

Improved literacy, increased neural processing, and having a biological effect on children’s developing nervous system. Sounds like a drug, or special milk formula? Well, you can’t be further from the truth – as what Nina Kraus, a scientist and director of Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, describes in the article: learning to play a musical instrument is good for developing brains, especially for children, and this improves their academic results through aiding literacy.

How does this work? By participating actively in the creation of music in a music class, children begin to hear and process sounds that they couldn’t otherwise hear. This cognitive stimulation effectively rewires the brain into improving neural processing through active generation and manipulation of sound, and hence encouraging children to be more on-task during usual academic lessons.

Unconvinced? Harmony Project, a non-profit community music program which serves low-income children in Los Angeles, reports that 93 per cent of its seniors going on to college despite their neighbourhood having a 50 per cent dropout rate. Now that’s a pretty big deal. If learning, and practising a musical instrument has such proven benefits for developing children, and at the community level, what are some closer-to-home perks for someone who’s playing music at a casual level? Here are some pretty nifty ones:

Sharpening concentration and teaching perseverance.

Learning and perfecting a piece on any instrument is never an easy feat, but it’s nevertheless high-effort, high-reward. The bigger price from being able to impress others would be the cultivation of perseverance during those practice sessions, and it goes a long way in character development.

It helps you to pick up non-verbal communication and coordination even better.

When you play in a band or group, there’s a limit to how much information speech and words can convey. Non-verbal cues, such as the nuanced coordination between each member of a musical group coming together to put up a perfect performance, require astute observation such as subtleties in body language and a heightened sensitivity towards changes in rhythm so that you are able to react quickly at the right moment. This applies to daily conversation and interaction with other people as well.

It fosters creativity.

After understanding the basics of music, you might be thinking of creating a new piece or modifying parts of a song to come up with an original piece of work – go for it! Even minute things, like altering the tempo of certain passages in a piece counts as well. Being content with the way a musical piece is played doesn’t always sit well with musicians, so let your creativity speak for itself!

Developing confidence and maintaining composure in front of many people.

Stage fright- especially when you’re performing to a group of people – is part and parcel of musical life. The invaluable skill of dealing with it through such repeated exposures go a long way into overcoming shyness in any social context!

It opens up a creative social network to you.

The best form of a kindred soul to a musician, is of course, another fellow musician! Interacting with other like-minded creative people passionate about music not only encourages you to hone your skill in the instrument, but also creates opportunities for you to meet more people in the network! You need not be a career musician to experience this; any musical folks out there definitely bond better over playing some good music together as opposed to standard social engagements.

It’s lots of fun, and you stand to impress others as well!

What can be better than impressing your friends while having fun at the same time? Other than opening up your social circle to fellow musicians, you stand to attract many other people who appreciate music as well! Online magazines such as Elite Daily also puts up a list of must-learn songs to impress girls, and this is certainly one powerful dating tool you wouldn’t want to pass up.;)

How to Pick the Right Musical Instrument for You

You may already know about how powerful music can be. People sing different songs every day and enjoy listening to it throughout the day. Instead of getting distracted, some believe they are better at what they do when there’s music in the background. Others find the soothing sound of music to be effective in putting themselves to sleep.

For these reasons, music enjoyment is considered essential to the well-being of people. So many passionate musicians around the world, novices and professionals alike, enjoy singing or dancing to music. There are some who want to enjoy their favorite tunes more intimately by learning to play an instrument.

If you are trying to become the next most admired musician of your generation, it is high time for you to start learning to play a musical instrument of your liking. How do you decide on which to learn, you ask? Here are some tips you may want to consider:

1. Pick the one that excites you.

People who are happy and successful in what they do believe that you can never become too good at doing what you love to do. The same principle applies to playing your favorite instrument. Make sure you are more interested in that guitar more than you adore the piano. Depending on your ability, you can take both but choose the best ones producing a sound that enchants you and best enjoy playing. There may be challenges during the training and learning period, but make it a fun and rewarding activity for you.

2. Consider your skill.

Have you heard experts sharing their thoughts about matching what you can do with the choices you have? This applies to selecting an instrument to play. Are you great at strumming or plucking the guitar? Do your hands and fingers seem like they have a mind of their own when you touch the piano? Does a beat seem to naturally come to you when you hit the drums? Pay attention to what your strengths are, and pick the musical tool that will let you enhance it.

3. Ask yourself: Am I patient enough and truly willing to learn to play this instrument?

Master musicians make it look easy, but the truth is, a great deal of time and effort are necessary to succeed at it. For one, this may entail enrolling in a good school for training. Make sure you have the right attitude for it. They say you can do everything with hard work and dedication. You will need just that in order to learn how to play your favorite instrument well. Give it everything you got so you can be closer to your dream of playing your favorite song in the version of your own for others to love.

Music Lessons – You’re Never Too Old to Learn to Play a Musical Instrument

Music lessons can begin at any age – you are never too old to learn a musical instrument, particularly if you have played one before or already know how to read music. Many people sadly don’t go with their ambition to learn to play an instrument they have always been interested in because they feel that they are just ‘over the hill’. True, a younger student will find the dexterity and memory elements easier but you have the advantage of time and dedication. Don’t underestimate these factors if you are considering having music lessons.

Apart from those younger students who are clearly destined to make music their career, how many teenagers either can or will give up an hour a day to learn an instrument? There is also the cost of the music lessons themselves – you are independent, they are dependent upon parental funding which may have to be split with siblings.

Before you book your music lessons, make sure that your tutor is used to giving tuition to more mature students. For example, if a tutor is geared up to tutoring children, they may have a child-sized instrument for the student to play on. They will certainly have a good selection of child-friendly music which will probably not be to your taste.

Another factor of music lessons for younger students is that they are probably being aimed towards Grade Examinations. If you want the same then that is fine but it may be that you are more interested in playing ‘what you want to play’ than practicing set pieces over and over again in preparation for a formal exam. It’s your call – you decide what your goal is and make sure that the tutor pitches each lesson accordingly.

If you are retired, you may be able to get a special price for having tuition out of peak hours (weekdays 4pm to 8pm and any time at weekends). Private tuition is not cheap so don’t be afraid to haggle if you can offer daytime work to your tutor.

Don’t let anyone discourage you from having music lessons. Without doubt, playing a musical instrument will reduce stress and keep you mentally and physically active. It is an excellent way of prolonging life and improving health and if you get good enough, you can even play in front of a few chosen friends!

Now all you need to do is to choose that instrument and book some music lessons.