Playing a musical instrument isn’t just a great hobby, but also provides numerous learning benefits for young minds! Here are 8 ways learning to play an instrument strengthens your brain.
1) Learning to play an instrument encourages a growth mindset and our ability to be resilient. It’s not always easy to start learning, but repeated practice and improvement leads to increased motivation towards intrinsic rewards. Whenever you get a little better, a new incentive to keep practicing is formed!
2) Multitasking is essential in music. Most instruments require two hands to play, which improves hand-eye coordination. Cognitive skills like being able to divide our attention between two tasks can be difficult to demonstrate, but music is a perfect example. Musicians that can also read sheet music (or sing) while playing are experts at multitasking!
3) Memory skills are enhanced. Learning to play an instrument involves a lot of healthy repetition (the more you practice, the better you get). Memorizing how to play a song is excellent practice for improving our recall abilities, as well as helping to encourage effective study skills.
4) Music is tied to emotion. Whether you’re playing an instrument yourself or simply listening to a song, music can cause us to experience many different feelings and emotions. Forming musical connections helps to develop emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and empathy towards others.
5) Learning to play an instrument is a great way to boost confidence. Once getting in a little bit of practice, you might be surprised at what you’re capable of producing! Musicians know the feeling – there’s always that first time where you say to yourself, “Wow, that actually sounds good!” This can be a huge boost in confidence, as well as a great motivator to keep practicing.
6) Social skills and the ability to work with others can be greatly improved by playing an instrument. Whether it’s a rock band or a full-on orchestra, musicians have to learn to coordinate and work with one another. Band programs at school are a great way to get kids involved! Contributing to a performance is an excellent way to demonstrate how individuals can form to become a part of something greater than themselves.
7) Playing music reduces stress! Many people play instruments as a hobby just because it’s a great past-time. Lowering your stress levels is always a good thing for our health (both physically and mentally), and music can be a wonderful emotional outlet for stress release.
8) Executive function skills are strengthened. All the things we use executive function skills for – time management, decision-making, problem solving – are heavily utilized when learning to play an instrument. Mindfulness and being aware of your abilities is an important part of acquiring musical knowledge, and practicing these skills can lead to improved concentration and better grades.