As another school year begins, I usually get an influx of kids wanting to take private music lessons. But my studio is not limited to children alone. I often have adults wanting to learn to play a new instrument or hone their skills on an instrument they haven’t played in years.
It is not as difficult to learn (or re-learn) to play an instrument as you think, and there are many benefits to doing so.
10 Benefits to Learning to Play an Instrument As an Adult
1. Improvement in Cognitive Tasks–Playing an instrument as little as an hour a week for a few months increases brain activity in the areas of hearing, memory and hand coordination. Long term effects include better word recall, nonverbal memory, and cognitive flexibility.
2. Increases the Capacity of Your Memory–Learning to play an instrument helps to sharpen the memory thus making learning a foreign language easier and making one more perceptive to interpreting the emotions of others.
3. Refines your Time Management and Organizational Skills–It takes organization to learn to play a piece of music.
4. Relieves Stress–I probably don’t have to tell you that music is relaxing, but did you know that the creation of a simple vibration of the instrument against the body can significantly lower a musician’s stress level? Playing any instrument helps release endorphins in your body, thus reducing levels of stress.
5. Fosters Your Self-Expression–Playing music becomes an outlet for the expression of emotions, builds confidence and self-esteem and provides a sense of independence and identity.
6. Teaches Discipline, Responsibility and Perseverance–Learning to play an instrument takes time and effort, patience and perseverance. It takes focus and repetition to learn scales and songs.
7. Enhances Coordination–Reading a piece of music requires the brain to convert the notes into specific motor patterns while also controlling breathing and rhythm at the same time. In addition, most instruments depend on your ability to use your fingers, arms and legs to perform different tasks simultaneously.
8. Improves Mathematical Ability–Whether you realize it or not, music is math. Playing various rhythms and being able to count rhythm as you play improves math skills and learning theory involves understanding a variety of mathematical concepts.
9. Health Benefits–Playing music calms the mind and body, reduces blood-pressure, focuses the mind and reduces ADD, insomnia, and depression. Playing musical instruments can also be a great form of exercise. Get out those drums!
10. It’s just FUN–Do I need to say anymore?