Learning a musical instrument can be challenging, especially for beginners. Even with a professional tutor, it can still feel impossible to make progress at times. It will require a lot of hard work, time, and money. Even if you don’t plan on becoming a professional musician, it still will be very rewarding in the end. There are many benefits that come with learning musical instruments as well. Many have been asking about the benefits of music for the brain, but if we look at our brain as a muscle, the answer can be quite simple. Similar to any other muscle in your body, your brain needs to be trained to get strong. This can be done in many different ways, such as learning a new language, playing cognitive brain games or reading something challenging. No matter how you choose to do this, it’s important to give your brain what it needs in order to grow. Learning a musical instrument not only benefits your brain but also improves many aspects of your mind and body.
Improving your memory
Studies have shown that learning a musical instrument improves our memory. These improvements are not only limited to our cognitive memory, and they improve our muscle memory as well. The process of learning a musical instrument will activate both sides of your brain, so it works your brain harder, thus improving your memory. According to research, taking part in music from an early age improves children’s learning ability and memory by tapping into different brain development patterns. A study took a group of school students and put them through a test that involved reading a number of words and asking them to recall the words after a period of time had passed. Half of the group were musically trained, and the other half weren’t. The study found that the students who were musically trained had better verbal memory than the other students. Music has also been used by scientists as a method of rehabilitation for people with nervous system disorders to improve memory.
It makes you smarter
Based on research, those with music experience are generally smarter than their counterparts. It has also been shown that children who had learned to play musical instruments did better in their studies than those who had not. This further reinforces what we said about the memory improvements associated with learning an instrument. When you engage both sides of your brain, it makes learning other skills easier as well. Studies have shown that skills needed for learning math and science improve with music training. Other studies have shown a correlation between musical training and success in academics. Some of the smartest people on earth have also been involved in music training, and even Einstein said, “Life without playing music is inconceivable to me… I see my life in terms of music…I get most joy in life out of music.”
It relieves stress
Music mostly makes us calm and has been shown to have a unique effect on our emotions. Music can also lower our blood pressure and heart rate. One of the most beneficial types of music is slow classical music and it can be very relaxing for our minds and bodies. Lower blood pressure and heart rate and decreased levels of the stress hormone have been associated with this type of music. A study tested this by dividing volunteers into three groups and putting them through a stressor. Before being exposed to the stressor, one group was stimulated by relaxing music, another by the sound of rippling water and the last one with no sound. The study proved those who had listened to relaxing music prior to being exposed to the stressor had lower cortisol levels. If you get stressed out a lot, then listening to relaxing music is a sure-fire way to take your mind off of your daily hassles.
Improves social skills
Learning to play an instrument not only benefits your brain but also helps with expanding your social circle. If you join a musical group, especially from an early age, it encourages you to build relationships with others. It also improves your team-building skills and teaches you how to interact with others. It has been shown that children who get involved in musical groups learn valuable life skills such as how to work with others in a group setting, how to empathise with others and how to appreciate the results you get from working in a group environment.
Music is fun
Even though learning a musical instrument is beneficial to your mental and physical health, you should also look at learning an instrument just for the fact that it is really fun to do so. Most of us have hobbies that make us happy and help us escape the monotony of day to day activities. Getting into music and playing an instrument can be an amazing hobby that engages our brains and makes us happy. It’s a great way to fill up our time instead of wasting it on watching TV or scrolling through social media. Learning an instrument can also be very satisfying because of the sense of accomplishment that it gives us. Imagine how fun it would be to learn an instrument that you can then play with people from your music group or your friends. I still remember my jamming studio sessions with my friends, and they continue to be one of my fondest memories, so give music a try if you haven’t yet.