Musical instruments are pretty great – depending on the skill of the player, they can produce beautiful sounds that enchant, touch, relax us or simply make us feel good after a long day. We all know the wonderful effects listening to music has on us, but did you know there are some pretty amazing benefits of playing a musical instrument yourself?
It turns out that regularly playing musical instruments can have positive effects, from boosting our mood to making our brains function better. Whether you’re thinking of picking up that dusty guitar in your basement again, taking some piano or even cello lessons, here are the top reasons why it’ll be totally worth your time.
9 benefits of playing a musical instrument to make you unleash your inner Jimi Hendrix!
1. Boosts your brainpower and memory
Numerous studies have found a link between playing a musical instrument and memory function. As we all know, mastering let's say guitar or vocal technique (yes, our voice is a valuable instrument, too!) requires a lot of focus and involves the areas in the brain that deal with processing and motor skills. The more you practice, the better your dexterity becomes.
Learning music trains your memory in surprising ways, from remembering chords, sheet music or finger positioning when playing guitar or piano to simply becoming trained in recognizing and reproducing various musical patterns. In short – one of the greatest benefits of playing a musical instrument is keeping your brain happy, focused and even smarter. Some studies also found a link between regularly playing music and increased IQ! Crazy, huh?
2. Helps you release your emotions the healthy way
Musical instruments also have a surprising advantage not many other alternatives offer – they help you release emotions in a healthy way, from negative ones such as anger or frustration to happiness or elation. Just like a good old gym session, a jamming session can help you relieve those pent-up feelings, providing you with a natural mood booster and a clearer head afterwards. Whether you’re playing in your room or on a stage, you’ll be able to find a positive outlet for pain or anger or even replace other negative coping mechanisms such as smoking with music on a longterm basis. It’s no wonder many specialists have recognized the benefits of music on healing various types of trauma.
3. You connect with music itself and other people
When it comes to the benefits of playing a musical instrument, we have to mention the social and emotional aspects as well. Learning music helps you connect with the words or the melody of a particular tune, but also with an audience (if you sing on a stage or alongside a group of friends). Music helps us connect and relate to each other in amazing ways, making us all feel like we’re part of something bigger, of a special moment - even more so when you’re in the front row center, setting the tune for others to join in.
4. Helps you learn discipline and resilience
You might not think of musical instruments as being capable of teaching you one or two things about discipline or resilience, but anyone who ever had to learn how to play one will tell you otherwise, especially if they’re self-taught. Learning a musical instrument takes time, patience, discipline, perseverance, constant practice and a crazy ambition, even when it all seems too difficult and all you want is to give up. Getting past all of these things will be useful for you in other sectors of your life as well. You’ll learn how to stay motivated and how to work hard to achieve your goals.
5. Gives you a sense of achievement
There’s nothing quite like acing a song after hours of practice or finally getting that solo right. One of the most amazing benefits of playing a musical instrument is the sense of achievement it provides you with. You feel like you worked hard for something and that in the end, all of those hard hours of practice were worth it. This helps you feel proud of yourself and more ready to tackle even more complicated tunes or arrangements.
6. Improves your coordination, focus and concentration
We all know that musical instruments require amazing hand-eye coordination but that’s not all. As you learn music, you have to master pitch, rhythm, note progressions or different singing or playing techniques. Acing all of this is a complicated proccess but one that will greatly improve your concentration and your ability to follow complex melodies, even under pressure (in case of live performances or venues with big audiences).
7. Boosts your confidence
We all remember iconic moments involving top performers playing musical instruments flawlessly, like they weren’t even trying. You probably had one such idol growing up and wanted to become just like him/her. That’s because learning to play an instrument and being really good at it boosts your confidence like no other and it’s something you can use in other aspects of your life as well. You’ll surely find it a lot easier to do presentations or public speaking once you’ve performed on stage under dozens of watchful eyes.
8. Boosts your self-expression abilities and your creativity
One of the greatest benefits of playing a musical instrument is that it makes you more creative, daring and open to expression. Music helps you get over inhibitions and be more ready to use your creative power for composing, song-writing, transposing or even putting a new spin on your cover of a famous artist. There are no limits to how far you can go and that’s one of the most fun things about music.
9. Gives you a constructive way to spend your time
Are you bored out of your skull? Are your other hobbies no longer challenging you? Learning how to play musical instruments sure will! Just pick your poison and start somewhere – you’ll be guaranteed to find something that’ll occupy hours of your time and, who knows, you might even become the next Joe Satriani!
What are other benefits of playing a musical instrument that I haven’t thought of? What instrument are you currently playing or thinking of picking up?
Share your thoughts and I might serenade you! (I play guitar) :)
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