Written By Chloe Adam.
Learning to play a musical instrument is an investment. How so? You might ask.
- Firstly, you’ll need to invest in an instrument.
- Next, you’ll need to invest in music lessons, and find a suitable teacher.
- Then, you’ll need to invest time, effort, diligence and energy into practicing.
- Oh, and you should also consistently show up to music lessons too!
It’s definitely an investment, but the investment is worth it. There are many other surprising reasons why learning to play an instrument can be incredible beneficial — a lot of these physiological, emotional and neurological benefits are backed by scientific studies too!
Alongside the dedication, perseverance and practice it requires — learning to play a musical instrument also brings great payoffs.
Here are 3 of the many reasons why your future self (or your children) will thank you for choosing to invest in learning music!
1) Learning to play an instrument can keep our minds sharper
“Musical activity throughout life may serve as a challenging cognitive exercise, making your brain fitter and more capable of accommodating the challenges of ageing. Since studying an instrument requires years of practice and learning, it may create alternate connections in the brain that could compensate for cognitive declines as we get older.”
— Brenda Hanna-Pladdy (Neurologist, Emory University School of Medicine)
Learning music is an awesome way to build character, mindset and brain-power regardless of age or experience.
In her article, Stephanie Pappas summarises the results of a study that revealed how playing an instrument as a child can keep our minds more switched on as we age. In this study, adults who had musical experience as children were found to perform better on cognitive tests than those who had never learnt to play a musical instrument.
The best long-term benefits were found in people who continued playing music in their younger years. When we commit to playing an instrument, we’re learning:
- Hand-eye coordination (using muscles we may not use in everyday life)
- Sight-reading (pretty much like learning a new language)
- Setting and achieving goals
- Discipline, perseverance and resilience
These all take time to develop. But once they do become ingrained in us — they can shape the way we show up in other areas of our lives by keeping our minds sharp.
2) Playing an instrument can enhance our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
“Research shows that making music can lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, reduce stress, and lessen anxiety and depression. There is also increasing evidence that making music enhances the immunological response, which enables us to fight viruses”
— Suzanne Hanser (Chair of Music Therapy Department – Berklee College of Music)
Learning to play an instrument and actually sitting down to create music can strengthen our immune system and help us regulate our emotions.
Music is one of the most engaging, all-encompassing, powerful, emotional stimulants. It can move us in ways that words might not. It can shift the entire atmosphere of a room. It can conjure nostalgia and take us on a trip down memory road.
Clinical Music Therapist Kimmo Lehtonen believes that music has a close relationship with our unconscious emotions. In other words, the emotions we may not initially be aware of can be activated by musical stimulation. Lehtonen also reveals that powerful emotions can be triggered for patients with dementia when listening to music.
It’s amazing how sitting down to play a musical instrument, or even how listening to music can powerfully enhance our mood and benefit our physical health.
3) Playing a musical instrument can boost our confidence and positively impact our self-esteem
“Music can have strong effects on people’s moods, thinking, and even their physiology.”
— John Carpente
The entire process of learning an instrument and playing a piece can have a significant positive impact on our self-esteem.
The keys to confidence building are (but not limited to):
- Finding a teacher who genuinely cares about their students
- Collaborating with the teacher to learn songs of you enjoy
- Setting small goals each week to work towards (SMART goals are great)
- Actually prioritising time to work on those goals
- Persevering with the piece to refine it and find your “flow”
- Performing it or sharing it with loved ones
- Feeling a strong sense of accomplishment and motivation to keep progressin
Though performance may not be for everyone — even just getting to improve and master a piece can be an enriching process.
Like all other art forms, music is beautiful when shared. But it’s equally as special when kept private, as a form of self-care (which is often the case for mums who start investing in learning themselves).
Some students thrive in a 1-1 setting with their teacher. Other students thrive more in social settings and group classes may give them a greater confidence boost. Different things suit different people, so it’s worth experimenting with to find your sweet spot to both find great enjoyment and grow in your confidence.
There are so many awesome benefits to learning to play a musical instrument, and one of the most important parts of playing music is learning to enjoy it.
The great thing is that — regardless of age, or prior experience — anyone can create music and reap the benefits of it. It’s never too late to start learning, and it’s never too late to start again.
If you’ve been thinking about investing in yourself, perhaps music lessons is something to explore.
Article written by Chloe Adam. Creative Director of Music on Purpose
Music on Purpose is a music school in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. The teaching team truly believe that music can change the world and are passionate about seeing more students experience the life-changing impacts of learning music.
By creating an environment that allows students to express and discover who they really are, the team at Music on Purpose offer fun, professional piano lessons for children, teenagers and adults of all ages to empower students to explore their creativity and fall in love with music.
They are currently taking enrolments for Term 2, and have recently opened a new venue at Shop 1/17, Green Street Maroubra.
You can find out more about music lessons / enrolments by:
It’s never too late to invest in your creativity, mindset and wellbeing!