The years spent teaching guitar playing have allowed me to understand more and more clearly that music and life are closely related to each other.
“Music is like life on a small scale.”
But leaving aside the higher and deeper considerations, what are the benefits of learning to sing or to play an instrument? What are the concrete advantages of musical practice in addition to the act of making music itself?
I am very grateful to my family who supported and encouraged my curiosity about music: if only because it helped make me a smarter individual! Or at least this is what transpires from numerous researches: playing makes you smarter.
To get to play a piece you have to solve a large number of problems: memorize the most difficult passages, choose how to perform the notes written on the score in the most convenient way with your instrument, evaluate the consequences of playing a certain passage in one way rather than another. All this work obviously has positive effects in exercising analytical reasoning and problem solving skills.
Reading music helps to improve the ability to read texts and to maintain concentration longer. From a physical point of view, playing helps to develop and improve one’s motor skills and coordination. It is no surprise then that according to the research of an American university, students who play a musical instrument generally have a higher school average than their peers and more developed memory skills!
Playing means developing the ability to recognize patterns and structures: repetitive passages, variations on the same theme, new elements that overlap and add to the old ones. Playing an instrument stimulates from a neurological point of view the same area of the brain that presides over logical-mathematical thinking. Often those who do well in mathematics play an instrument without difficulty, those who play an instrument improve in mathematics.
Even some research suggests that listening alone can enhance space-time intelligence: this is the famous and controversial “Mozart effect”. According to the researchers, listening to Mozart’s “Sonata in D major for two pianos” would cause a temporary increase in the intellectual abilities of a group of volunteers.
Learning to play means sharing your journey with trained and available teachers and meeting other friends with the same passion for music! For many, especially children, the social component is the main reason that pushes them to learn to play. I play because I find my way to feel good with others and thus define my person.
Playing in an orchestra, singing in a choir, forming a rock band help you learn to be together with others and communicate. In fact, it is necessary to learn to work together for a common goal and define one’s own role and musical voice in this.
Playing easily leads to open up to others to share their discoveries and their own sound: just think of a jam session, a concert, a record recording. But before you get there, you need constant exercise and practice, both of which are mostly done alone. This need has the great merit of promoting self-discipline and encouraging the rational use of the time available. Playing is easy: just a little time each day is enough to train in a constant and goal-oriented way: making music a practice that can make life more beautiful!
I have always been a shy person, so I can say it with the conviction of those who have lived on themselves what they say: learning to play improves self-esteem because you feel that little by little, thanks to your commitment, you become better and better and systematically get the desired results. .
Various researches have shown that children who struggle to speak or adults who are ashamed to speak in public can learn to speak through their musical instrument. Presenting a research, as well as speaking in public, become easier tasks after you have tried the experience of playing during an essay or a concert!
Making music promotes creativity and personal expression. On the contrary, I am convinced that this must be placed at the center of every training path together with the search for a high level technical performance. Technique should become the means by which one can fully express one’s person. But beyond these aspirations, playing certainly induces active listening and appreciation of other forms of art besides music. And it certainly teaches you to experience the pleasure of being creative: mixing the ingredients available to make something beautiful and new!
According to many researchers, making music improves the capabilities of one’s immune system, increasing the number of cells that fight the onset of diseases. Older people who play music tend to be physically healthier and suffer less from depression, anxiety and loneliness!
7) Stress reduction:
When you play you need to be focused. For this reason, after a while the worries are forgotten and only you and what you are playing remain. Playing helps reduce stress! Playing allows you to create a suspension from the normal flow of your life and at the same time to sincerely express your emotions.
Learning to play requires an investment of time and financial resources, but it is certainly an activity that can overwhelmingly reward those who abandon fear and decide to start: after all, have I ever met someone who complained about being able to sing or play?