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:
Benefits Spelling And IQ In Children
The National Center for Biotechnology Information directed a study involving a group of German elementary students to study the effects of musical training. They compared three groups: those who played an instrument, those who didn’t play an instrument, and those who didn’t play an instrument but had a member of the family did. They found that the non-verbal IQ of those who played an instrument was the highest. In addition, those who played an instrument had the fewest spelling mistakes. Perhaps playing an instrument is the perfect solution for a child who is struggling in school!
Decreases Age-Related Hearing Loss
In a study performed by the then doctoral student Benjamin Zendel and Dr. Claude Alain, participants were instructed to attentively listen to complex sounds. It was found that the older musicians auditory cortices responded the same as the younger participants and at a higher functionality than the older non-musicians, who had age-related hindrances. This is ironic because many musicians experience hearing loss from the loud music they are a part of, but if you protect your ears from the “loudness” of the music, music actually benefits your hearing!
Benefits The Brains Of Babies
McMaster University performed a study in which one-year-old babies participated in interactive music classes. These classes entailed activities such as learning to sing specific songs and playing percussion instruments with their parents. They found that the babies who participated in the interactive music classes smiled more often, could communicate better, were less distressed, responded more favorably to music that was tonal and consonant (as opposed to atonal and dissonant music) and had more advanced brain responses to tones of music. I never knew babies could take music classes when they are 1 year old, but apparently, it helps their brains!
Speeds Up Reaction Times
At the Université de Montréal in Canada, Dr. Simon Landry led a study comparing the reaction times of musicians who had at least 7 years of training with non-musicians. Dr. Simon had the participating students place one hand on a mouse, the other on a vibrotactile device, and placed a speaker in front of them. If the students felt a vibration from the vibrotactile device, or heard a sound from the speaker, or sensed both happening at the same time, they were instructed to click the mouse. The results demonstrated that the musicians had significantly faster reaction times in all three ways they were stimulated.
There you have it! 16 benefits to remind yourself of so you can accomplish your goal of learning to play an instrument.