If you're looking for a hobby that brings greater self-esteem, reduced anxiety, and a whole host of other benefits, look no further than learning to play a musical instrument.
Whether you opt for the saxophone, bass, or drums, you will develop a range of cognitive skills that go far beyond simply learning to make music.
So what are the benefits of learning an instrument? And how is music good for your brain?
Keep reading to find out!
1. Increase Creativity
From playing songs to developing your own melodies, learning how to play an instrument is a wonderful creative outlet. The ability to adapt rhythm, key, and pitch allows a musician to take a piece of music and make it their own.
Playing music encourages "divergent thinking", so as you're discovering what personal touch you can bring to a piece, you're also strengthening skills of thinking outside the box that can be applied to other areas of life.
Learning an instrument promotes creative thinking, not just logical reasoning.
2. Develop a Skill
Playing musical instruments is also a great way to pass your free time. Sure, you could spend your evenings scrolling through Instagram, but why not choose a hobby that develops a skill and provides a myriad of benefits?
Once you master reading music and keeping rhythm, you'll find it is easier to go on and learn other instruments too. If you're already a guitar player, why not stick with the strings but try out the bass?
3. Improve Memory
A further reason to learn how to play a musical instrument is because of the benefits it brings to your memory. Studies show that those who play an instrument have a greater capacity to remember in comparison to those who don't.
Learning and playing music uses both the left and right sides of the brain which enables the development of memory capacities and strengthens the hippocampus.
4. Social Benefits
There are also plenty of advantages to learning an instrument regarding your social life. Music brings people together, whether that's discussing artists and genres, playing together, or attending concerts.
Musicians form a diverse yet tight-knit community and it's a brilliant group to be a part of. When you get to the stage of playing proficiently, being able to perform for friends and family is a special gift.
In this way, learning an instrument can provide greater confidence and self-esteem in social situations.
5. Reduce Stress
Playing music is also beneficial due to the reduced stress levels it can bring about. As well as providing a distraction from the annoyances of daily life, studies have shown that playing music can reduce blood pressure and lower our heart rate.
This in turn has further benefits for our physical health.
Becoming captivated by a piece of music can provide an escape from reality. Musical therapy is often used by doctors and professionals who are treating patients with high levels of stress.
6. Develop Patience and Perseverance
For all its benefits, learning a musical instrument is not easy. The process of mastering an instrument develops several skills that have a wider relevance in our lives.
Firstly, one of the advantages of learning an instrument is that it increases our capacity for patience. You cannot become a piano aficionado overnight, and there will be many difficulties along the way. However, the time and effort that go into learning an instrument are heavily rewarded, and your patience will pay off.
Next, learning an instrument also encourages perseverance. It is an ongoing process, and your playing ability is a skill that can always be improved upon.
7. Improve Brain Functions
There is a strong correlation between music and learning. By playing a musical instrument, you are strengthening many areas of your brain, in the same way that physical exercise strengthens many muscles of your body.
Research has proven the many benefits of learning an instrument for your brain. In fact, musicians have more gray matter in their brains than non-musicians, which translates to greater potential for information processing.
Some scientists suggest that learning a musical instrument, particularly from a young age, can increase your IQ by as much as 7 points. It can have knock-on effects that lead to improved motor skills, mathematics skills, and even reaction times.
8. Get Better at Time Management
Incorporating learning a musical instrument and scheduling lessons into your week can be challenging for some. In this way, taking up an instrument can improve your time management skills.
You'll soon find the less essential elements of your routine (cough cough endless Instagram scrolling) fade away, as you make room in your schedule for daily practice.
A further benefit of learning an instrument if you have young children is that your passion can be passed on to them. Aside from the significant benefits that learning an instrument has for children, the time you set aside to practice playing your instrument is an important time just for you when you can focus on yourself for a few minutes every day.
9. Have Fun!
The final reason why you should learn to play a musical instrument is the pure joy that the process will give you. Learning an instrument is hard work but fun, and this alone is a good enough reason to do it.
From the feeling of accomplishment upon mastering a tricky piece to the connections you'll make with other music fans and the pride you'll feel when playing for friends and family - these all make learning an instrument well worth the effort.
Finally, listening to and playing music releases endorphins, which is the scientific explanation of why it feels so good. However, this does not fully encapsulate the sense of well-being and inner contentment that learning an instrument can bring day after day.
Now You Know the Benefits of Learning an Instrument
We've seen just how many ways music and brain development are closely linked. Learning to play a musical instrument goes far beyond a new hobby or a way to pass the time.
Which of the numerous benefits of learning an instrument has convinced you?
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