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Health benefits of playing a musical instrument

Health benefits of playing a musical instrument. Is it beneficial for children?

There is a non-ending list of all the benefits you gain from playing an instrument.

A good amount of research has already been done to prove how playing musical instruments can lead to a healthier body and mind.

Many people resort to playing an instrument of their choice, when in times of distress.

If a part of your daily routine, this instrument becomes a way to release stress and negativity.

Musicians of all ages can gain emotional, mental and physical well-being with the help of this fun hobby.

Let’s go through some of the absolutely amazing health benefits that playing a musical instrument provides us with.


Physical Benefits Of Playing A Musical Instrument

1. Improvement In Posture

Posture Improvement with Piano
image courtesy of www.merriammusic.com

A good posture becomes a direct consequence of playing instruments.

Your music instructor will make sure that you maintain a proper posture while playing any instrument.

You wouldn’t even know when this habit of sitting up straight will slide into your daily life, when you’re not playing the instrument as well.

Furthermore this posture correction will lead to reduction of pain in the back and the neck, if any.

2. Fine Hearing Development

Playing a musical instrument improves your listening skills as well.

You are able to differentiate between sounds, you start to recognize and appreciate even the minutest sounds that always went unnoticed.

According to BBC, various studies show that musicians are better at differentiating and recognizing specific voices and sounds even in a noisy environment.

A study found that a 70-year-old musician’s hearing was as good as that of a 50-year-old who did not play.

3. Improvement In Respiratory System

Improvement in respiratory system is a consequence of specifically playing wind instruments.

While playing a flute or a trumpet, or any other instrument – one of the first things you learn is breathing properly, because if you don’t follow the proper breathing technique, air vibrations will not be induced in the instrument and you won’t be able to play it.

Thus efficient breathing becomes a musician’s habit.

Controlled breathing is basically what meditation is, so playing a wind instrument is equivalent to meditating!

4. Blood Pressure And Heart Rate

Blood Pressure Improvement With Music
image courtesy of www.musicnotes.com

Playing an instrument helps you release stress, it helps you be calm and thus it helps you to get your blood pressure and heart rate to the desired and healthy level.

5. Treating Alzheimer’s

A study by PubMed Central showcases how the mental stimulation generated by playing instruments can, over a period of time, treat Alzheimer’s.

The study showcases how music memory is retained for a longer period of time as compared to spoken memories.

Improved attention and memory, due to playing the instrument works well for Alzheimer’s patients.


Mental Benefits Of Playing A Musical Instrument

1. Concentration

Rubik's CubePlaying any instrument requires a lot of focus and concentration.

While playing an instrument you need to focus on the timings, and you multi-task by playing on the one hand and calculating the timings and patter on the other.

You have to look over multiple elements of beat, rhythm, texture and what not as a musician. An improved concentration level becomes a direct consequence of this activity.

2. Coordination

Using your hands, fingers, feet all together and alongside making sure that you don’t lose the beat and the rhythm is a challenging task.

With days of playing an instrument, such coordination becomes a day to day easy task for you.

You learn to coordinate your body and your mind, in a manner that it always works well for you.

Here, music helps you gain refined motor skills and much more than just hand-eye coordination.

3. Reading Skills

When learning how to play an instrument you are also how taught how to read music, and this helps greatly in processing more information and retaining it better in general life.

As a result absorbing information from various sources also becomes easier than before.

4. Mental Performance And Memory

Playing an instrument is nothing less than a workout for each and every part of your brain.

You gain a better memory and a better mental performance from playing music.

Evidences also show how music can help a patient’s brain recover to some extents from a stroke.

5. Time management

Playing an instrument requires practice, of course, but alongside it also requires appropriate time schedules.

It requires you to manage your time adequately.

Playing music helps you develop better time management skills and even better organizational skills that you can put into use in your daily life as well!

 

“Learning an instrument is a lot more than just the technical parts. It has taught me discipline, rhythm scheme and it helps me relax my mind as well. Whenever I’m stressed, I play drums – it has become an instant personal therapy for me. Playing any instrument also helps me concentrate better.” Says Priyanka, a drummer and currently an undergraduate student in Delhi University.


Emotional Benefits Of Playing A Musical Instrument

1. Promotes sense of achievement

There’s no better feeling than finally mastering the art of playing an instrument that you’ve been trying to learn for so long.

The result of this time consuming and tiring process is always elating.

Reaching the goal, after putting in so much effort and hard work gives you a strong sense of achievement and pride.

It also leads to an improved confidence in other spheres of life.

2. Therapy

Playing music can be your escape from stressful days.

It has helped many with insomnia, depression and stress issues, bringing a sense of positivity on your lowest of days.

With the knowledge of various benefits of music, music therapy has gained a lot of recognition in recent days.

3. It’s A Wonderful Outlet

Playing an instrument is a beautiful from of self-expression.

It promotes a sense of self and becomes an outlet for repressed emotions and internal distress.

It is an art form that lets you describe and express your true self, keeping you emotionally healthy.

 

Billy Joel very rightly said “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”


Improvement In Mental Health

The effect of music and instruments on your mental health are unknown to many.

It’s a surprise how many people don’t know about Music Therapy.

Learning music has been shown to positively alleviate symptoms of depression.

Learning music, thus often becomes a traditional manner to improve your mental health conditions.

A Finnish research (under British Journal of Psychiatry) reported how about one out of every four depression sufferers is likely to respond to music therapy.

For many people with mental health issues who are not able to express their thoughts, or express their emotions, music becomes a way of expressing themselves which might help them feel lighter and better.

These above mentioned emotional and communicative effects become an indicator of how music also becomes a mood-booster for many people having a bad day or a bad week.


How Does Learning An Instrument Help A Child?

Boy Listening To Music

Alongside these general benefits, learning how to play a musical instrument is extremely beneficial at a young age.

The ‘transfer effect’ indicates how learning in one area may lead to improvement in other areas of life, and that is exactly what happens when we talk about children who learn to play instruments. These children often get help in other walks of life as well.

Different Research Projects from University of Vermont indicate how learning an instrument can make children smarter and more emotionally balanced.

Muscle control and coordination has been proven to be much better in children between the age of 6 and 18, who did learn how to play an instrument.

Alongside this learning to play an instrument as a child also shows improvements in behaviour, emotional attitude, and working memory.

More often than not parents do struggle with the problem of inattentiveness amongst their children, but playing an instrument helps children expand their attention span, which helps them in all other areas of their life.

Students who learn instruments also tend to have the ability to identify patterns and solve new problems by using logic and analytical skills faster than the students who don’t know how to play musical instruments.

Children who choose to learn instruments are sometimes also seen to have a lower tendency to be nervous and anxious in their everyday lives, these children also tend to internalise their problems and fears lesser than the other children.

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