If there is one thing that everyone should do at one point or the other in their lives, it is learning to play a musical instrument. It will help you in more ways than you could possibly imagine. Just being able to play some of your favorite songs will instill a never-ending joy in your heart. Yes, contrary to popular belief, you can learn at any age, even in your 50s or 60s.
It is easier when you’re younger, but you could always pick up an instrument and start from scratch, no matter how old you are.
Believe it or not, it can actually significantly affect your brain. Here’s how.
Are musicians smarter?
For the most part, yes. Several studies have shown that there is a correlation between learning music and being successful academically. Why and how is that possible? Well, when you learn an instrument, your brain is forced into stimulation and into leveraging its analytical parts. Functions like your memory and abstract reasoning are exponentially enhanced as you try to make sense of tempos, music theory, and music sheets. All those things stimulate your brain and, in turn, help it become more active and sharp. It is even much more important for kids, as it helps improve their verbal and memory skills. A child who is learning music has better memory skills and is a much faster learner. Those improved reading skills make a huge difference in a child’s psychological development, too. Their cognitive functions exponentially benefit as well. Music simply increases electrical signals in their brains, so their cognitive skills and brain development are enhanced.
Enhanced communication skills
Music has an overwhelmingly positive effect on a person’s communication skills, whether they are adults or kids. Even babies benefit from music lessons, as they get to open up more and function in an interactive environment. As these musical experts explain, the guitar is one of the most suitable instruments for beginners of any age, and you can easily get into it with the right help. Besides, who doesn’t love its sound? Going to music lessons at any age will help you come out of your shell and your communication skills will significantly improve.
We live in a time where everybody’s stressed over something. This is why listening as well as playing music is more important now than ever. When you play an instrument, your brain releases stress-relieving hormones. It also inhibits the release of stress hormones in your body, which helps you relax and feel better. This is why we feel calmer and happier when we put on music. In fact, playing and listening to your favorite tunes can also help lower your blood pressure and even heart rate.
Higher processing speed
A trained musician’s mind works differently than the rest of us. They are capable of processing multiple things at a much higher speed. When you watch a concert pianist sight-reading a 1-hour piece on stage, while simultaneously playing using both hands and feet as well, you understand how fast their minds work. All your sensory skills are enhanced when you play music. Studies show that a musician can integrate information from touch, sound, sight, and even smell and taste at a much higher level. This is why band or symphony musicians can play their instruments on stage while listening to other bandmates instruments and keeping eye contact with them or with the conductor at the same time.
Stress-relieving benefits aside, the music has some positive effects on your psyche and how your brain works, too. When you learn to play an instrument, your self-confidence is exponentially improved. Some people can be very shy and closed off, but when they start learning music, they gain much more confidence that they come up on stage in front of hundreds or thousands of people.
This is why learning music is a very useful skill for youth as it can help them grow in confidence and feel comfortable around people. On the other hand, learning music teaches you patience like nothing else will. It will be extremely difficult at first and you will want to quit a million times. But if you stick with it, you will see much improvement and plenty of rewards for your patience.
When you play music, more oxygen flows to your brain, which helps you remain focused and avoid fatigue. Your creativity also gets better when playing an instrument, and it might even reflect on other creative endeavors in your life. In short, learning to play an instrument will change your life forever. Just be patient and stick with it, and your brain will be much better for it.