Benefits of playing a musical instrument

Choosing to play an instrument is the beginning of a journey. One that is exciting, but often filled with struggle and hard work. It will require you to take in new information and master new skills.
Listed below are some of the many benefits of playing an instrument. When you feel yourself getting discouraged, remember to keep these benefits in mind.
I hope these encourage you to keep practicing. I promise, playing a musical instrument is worthwhile.

In No Particular Order, Learning To Play An Instrument:

Reduces Stress

The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a study on the effectiveness of music to lower stress. The test involved putting volunteers into three groups. Before being exposed to a stressor, each group listened to a different stimulus.

Group 1 – Relaxing music,
Group 2 – the sound of rippling water,
Group 3 – resting with no sound present.

After, their stress indicators were measured. The study showed that those who listened to relaxing music before the stressor had significantly lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels than those in the other two groups.

If you are like me and find it easy to get stressed out, listening to music could help lower your stress levels. Listening to your instrument gives the benefit of taking your mind off your day.

Produces Patience And Perseverance

The process of learning to play an instrument is not always easy. It involves not only your mind but also your body. You will have to learn fingerings and/or chord shapes, develop technique, and memorize new information. Slowly, with consistent practice, you will find yourself getting better. With each new milestone, you gain a small reward for your efforts, and this will keep you motivated. Making music requires patience. Instead of getting immediate results, you will have to persevere.
Keep at it! You will achieve the results you desire.

 Develops Music Appreciation

You don’t have to become a virtuoso to reap the benefits of music. You can gain many of these benefits by just learning the basics. You will develop a taste for the different composers, styles, and genres of music. Not only does this cause you to be more well versed in music, but it also leads to a higher appreciation of the skill.

 According to Aristotle in his writings, Politics unless you have taken part in music education, or in learning an instrument, you have no real basis for assessing the quality of a piece of music. Interestingly, he also says that you should not dedicate yourself to learning a difficult instrument because it is a waste of time. Just learn enough to enjoy playing a bit and to judge the quality of music.
Aristotle on the Flute: “the flute is not an instrument which is expressive of moral character; it is too exciting.” Of course, I disagree with his position on dedication but agree with his first point…and the flute thing.

Cultivates Creativity

At its core, music is art.
Music is a language, and the more “words” you learn, the more you will be able to say. You will soon find yourself wanting to apply the information you’ve learned to create music of your own and express your voice. Music is not just about knowing how to play specific songs; it is about expressing emotion through sound. Whether it is just playing your version of a song, or creating an entirely new one, learning how to play an instrument enables you to use your creativity to say something original.

Uses Almost Every Part Of The Brain


Strengthens Your Immune System

While investigating the effects of music, physiologists Daniel J. Levitin and Mona Lisa Chanda found that listening to music and playing an instrument increased the immune system. These activities lead to the manufacturing of the antibody immunoglobulin-A. Immunoglobulin-A is a natural killer cell, which kills viruses. If you start to feel under the weather, just pick up that guitar and start playing!

Increases Time-Management Skills

Adding learning an instrument into an already busy schedule can be challenging, especially if you want to become an advanced player. The desire to get better will help you to schedule in practice during your already busy day. You also learn the life skill of how to waste less time and to use your time wisely. Instead of watching the Dodgers lose (again), you will soon focus on learning how to play Clair de Lune or stairway to heaven.

Increases Memory Capability

Way back in 2003, ABC Science included a study conducted amongst school students, half of whom had been musically trained, and half who had not. The test involved reading a list of words to the students and asking them to recall the words after a space of time had elapsed. The study found that the boys who had been musically trained had a significantly better verbal memory than the boys who had not. In addition, the more musical training they had, the more words they were able to remember. If you can’t remember where you left your keys, maybe it is because you forgot to practice your instrument!

Allows You To Share With Others

Once people know you can play an instrument well, they want to hear you play. Often, when I am at family gatherings or hanging out with friends of the family, I am asked to play some music for them. At first I didn’t like it, because instead of just hanging out with people I knew I had to try and think of the songs I could play, but in reality, it is a great opportunity to share the gift of music. Once you learn how to effectively play an instrument, not only do you have the ability to share your gift with family and friends, you can bless those at nursing homes, church, banquets and more. You might even get paid for your work!