5 Benefits of Learning an Instrument

All across the nation, despite variations in cultures and ethnicities, there is one element that can be seen woven throughout: music. As of 2010, over 18 million people in America play musical instruments for any number of reasons: a personal love of music, an extracurricular activity, or for the numerous personal benefits that come along with practicing an instrument. If you or your child is looking to start taking lessons for an instrument, consider these six personal benefits that come along with the diligence and persistence it takes to learn an instrument.

1. Learning an instrument heightens your coordination.

  • It comes as no surprise that, when you’re playing an instrument, you’re exercising your coordination skills by reading lines of music and then turning those notes into corresponding movements and strings or keys struck by the finger. If you’re playing an instrument like a piano or an organ that also uses foot pedals, then you must be able to read the music, move your fingers, and move your toes all in conjunction with one another.

2. Reading music makes you a stronger reader.

  • Because of the way musicians process the information required to play notes, neuroscientists have found that they have higher brain activity than those without musical training, and are more efficiently able to process information they receive from their ears and eyes. It was also found that musicians have faster and more responsive auditory cortexes than their counterparts, and are better able to discern subtle patterns and variations in sound.

3. Playing an instrument teaches you discipline.

  • Like most anything in life, mastering an instrument requires time, dedication, and perseverance. Before you can play an instrument effortlessly, you must first acquaint yourself with each aspect of the instrument: learning to play each note, learning to transition between them, learning to play in tandem with others, and so on.

4. It helps you concentrate.

  • When you play an instrument, your brain must be able to concentrate on several things all going on at once. You have to focus not only on the notes that need to be played, but the corresponding movement of your fingers, the rhythm and tempo at which you’re playing, the dynamics of the sound, and playing in conjunction with any other musicians with whom you’re performing. You not only have to focus on each of these, but you must focus on them in conjunction with one another.

5. Playing an instrument helps you reach a sense of achievement.

  • One of the most character-building experiences that you can have is finally achieving something that you worked at and practiced hard to accomplish, and learning an instrument is a great display of this. Often the culmination of learning an instrument is a performance where the skills and songs learned to play are showcased. Performing in a recital, especially performing well, can help the performer build some confidence in themselves.

Originally published at kamihoss.org on November 21, 2016.

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