16 Benefits of Playing an Instrument – Part 1

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16 Benefits of Playing an Instrument – Part 1

16 Benefits Of Playing An Instrument
by Mike Levitsky

Choosing to play an instrument is the beginning of a journey. One that is exciting, but often filled with struggle and hard work. It will require you to take in new information and master new skills.
Listed below are some of the many benefits of playing an instrument. When you feel yourself getting discouraged, remember to keep these benefits in mind.
I hope these encourage you to keep practicing. I promise, playing a musical instrument is worthwhile.

In No Particular Order, Learning To Play An Instrument:

Reduces Stress
The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a study on the effectiveness of music to lower stress. The test involved putting volunteers into three groups. Before being exposed to a stressor each group was exposed to a different stimulus. Group 1 – Relaxing music, Group 2 – the sound of rippling water, and Group 3 – resting with no sound present. After, their stress indicators were measured. The study showed that those who listened to relaxing music before the stressor had significantly lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels than those in the other two groups.
If you are like me and find it easy to get stressed out, listing to music could help lower your stress levels. Listening to your own instrument gives the benefit of taking your mind off of your day.

Produces Patience And Perseverance
The process of learning to play an instrument is not always easy. It involves not only your mind but also your body.You will have to learn fingerings and/or chord shapes, develop technique, and memorize new information. Slowly, with consistent practice, you will find yourself getting better. With each new milestone, you gain a small reward for your efforts and this will keep you motivated. Making music requires patience. Instead of getting immediate results, you will have to persevere.
Keep at it! you will achieve the results you desire.

Develops Music Appreciation
You don’t have to become a virtuoso to reap the benefits of music. You can gain many of these benefits by justlearning the basics. You will develop a taste for the different composers, styles, and genres of music. Not only does this cause you to be more well-versed in music, but it also leads to a higher appreciation of the skill.
According to Aristotle in his the politics book 8, unless you have taken part in music education, or in learning an instrument, you have no real basis for assessing the quality of a piece of music. Interestingly, he also says that you should not dedicate yourself to learning a difficult instrument because it is a waste of time. Just learn enough to enjoy playing a bit, and to judge the quality of music.
Aristotle on the Flute: “the flute is not an instrument which is expressive of moral character; it is too exciting”. Of course, I disagree with his position on dedication but agree with his first point…
…and the flute thing.

Cultivates Creativity
At its core, music is art.
Music is a language, and the more “words” you learn the more you will be able to say. You will soon find yourself wanting to apply the information you’ve learned to create music of your own and express your own voice. Music is not just about knowing how to play specific songs, it is about expressing emotion through sound. Whether it is justplaying your own version of a song, or creating an entirely new one, learning how to play an instrument enables you to use your creativity to say something original.