Making music is enjoyable in itself, and the first steps of learning can be very exciting. Increasing your ability gives you a bigger range of more interesting music to play. And then you can play along with other musicians in bands and orchestras and other groups. This all brings benefits far beyond the development of instrumental skill. Lower down the page are links with more information, and here’s a list of some key side-benefits of learning a musical instrument:
· Self-Expression – music is a great form of emotional release, expressing things when words aren’t the right way.
· Self-Respect – music students have demonstrated to themselves that they can develop abilities and overcome challenges in pursuing their goals.
· Organisation and persistence – music students develop their skills in organising their practice time and persisting when new skills take time to develop.
· Academic Ability – it has been demonstrated that children who learn music have higher academic attainment than they would have done had they not learned music.
· Social Opportunities – playing in a band or orchestra links you to a wider community of like-minded people who work together co-operatively to make music.
· Posture, Control and Co-ordination – Playing an instrument helps you to develop good posture, relaxed control, fine motor skills and co-ordination between your limbs.
· Multitasking and Brain Development – When playing, a musician is simultaneously decoding written music, co-ordinating limbs, listening to her own sound and that of the band, staying in time with the band, comparing this particular performance with her expectations, thinking ahead to the music that’s coming up next, using the music to express a story or emotion, controlling her own emotional state in a helpful way…
To do all this, she has done lots of practice, and in the process developed her brain in such a way that many different parts can connect very well.
Information at some other web sites…
This Ted Talk animation is less than 5 minutes long, yet still gives some useful information.
Music and Learning – Does Music Make You Smarter? at Frontiers for Young Minds Here’s a good place to start finding out about benefits of learning music – it’s a very readable article, as well as having references to academic papers.
17 Surprising health benefits of learning a musical instrument – at Music Notes.com. This covers benefits for everyone, not just children. And please keep sight of the big benefits – that making music is fun and fulfilling!
The benefits to children of learning music – at Kumon’s website. This covers many of the educational benefits we mention above.
Music and Health – from Harvard Medical School’s papers about staying healthy. Quite a technical discussion, as you might expect from Harvard, but helpful insights into music’s influence on the mind, on stroke recovery, relief of chronic pain, cardiovascular health and more.