If you were thinking that playing a musical instrument was something that only children gain benefit from, then you are only seeing a small part of how music can impact and improve everyone’s quality of life regardless of their age. Playing guitar, bass, banjo, ukulele, mandolin, keyboard, flute, harp & autoharp and using my voice has helped me to stretch and learn more about myself both as a learner and producer of music. I know first hand the benefits that come from playing and mastering the skills for playing an instrument.
Here are some of the benefits I have personally experienced and researched:
- 1. The pleasure received from the instrument – playing music whether it be using your voice or any other physical instrument is a pleasurable experience which is different from merely listening to recorded music. Much has been written about the effect notes have on our physiology. String and wind instruments have a physical resonate through the body and have been scientifically shown to reduce stress levels, blood pressure and increase cardio vascular functioning
- 2. The joy of music can be shared with others – musical sounds provide a sense of well-being for the player and the listener
- 3. Developing skills of persistence – practicing, pondering and playing music helps the player to become more focused on skill development and mastery
- 4. Sense of self belief and confidence – learning music helps us understand our limitations and how we can overcome difficulty
- 5. Personal Achievement – pushing boundaries of self expression and mastery helps us to understand what can be achieved through perseverance
- 6. Physical well-being, Pain relief & reduction of blood pressure (W. A. Mozart, J. Strauss, and ABBA) Studies have shown the music of these artists to be of enormous help when played or listened to.
Playing an instrument can distract us from pain and induce pain relief
- 7. Stress relief – playing helps us to connect with ourselves and disconnect from our worries
- 8. Co-processing – when we are playing an instrument we are always doing more than one thing;
- * reading the music (or remembering a piece),
- * physically playing notes (left and right hand) –
- * vocalist shape and use different parts of the left & right brain to create notes and sounds proficiently
- * keeping time
- * being aware of our surroundings, audience etc.
- 9. Strengthens right –left brain connections – physical and mental co-ordination. Musicians are always integrating body-brain functioning and fine motor skills requiring deep level thinking
- 10. Communication development – playing and listening to music means being able express emotion and technical skill, playing with others means being able to listen and share thoughts about performance and expression of ideas
- 11. Long term and short memory gains – strengthening neurological pathways, requiring students to be tolerant of repetitive activity and creating new neural pathways as this happens
- 12. Self expression – connects us with our creativity and individual ability to express ourselves and use of higher level thinking and feeling
- 13. Connecting with others– Music helps us to connect with others without words with sounds and silences and develops Team building skills
- 14. Empathy – helps us to be aware of deep feelings within ourselves and others and helps us identify with others.
- 15. Inspiration – the joy of music can be an inspiration for the creator as well as the listener
- 16. Versatility of being able to play solo and with others
- 17. Patience – allowing yourself and others to make progress at their own pace
- 18. Time Management – planning, practicing, organising thinking
- 19. Listening & Focusing – hearing yourself and others and reflecting on what is heard for self-improvement.
- 20. Community Engagement – connection with others around us, linking with people from all walks of life