If you find the thought of starting to play a musical instrument intimidating, perhaps even frightening, you're not alone. There are several reasons why you might be tempted to shy away from the idea, especially if you've never played an instrument before.
There's no question learning to play an instrument can be challenging, even frustrating at times. But it can also be an incredibly rewarding and satisfying experience that benefits your entire being.
Here are seven great reasons to start playing a musical instrument.
1. It's a great way to relax.
Even in the early stages when you're just getting started, playing an instrument is a great way to relax and unwind. Your practice time serves as a special part of the day when you can set aside the worries of the world and give your full attention to the task at hand.
Just make sure you don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself with the goals you set. Remember, you're in control; you're doing this for yourself, not to meet someone else's standards for what you need to achieve.
2. It will make you smarter.
There's plenty of research that shows playing an instrument improves your cognitive abilities and makes you smarter. This makes sense, when you consider how much is involved with playing. You need to focus your mind, concentrate, and recall what you've learned previously; while coordinating your eyes, ears, hands, and even your breathing.
As you engage in the process of learning and playing, you're training yourself and forming new neural connections in your brain. Don't be surprised if you begin to notice effects elsewhere in your life, like better problem-solving capabilities.
3. It supports healthy aging and longevity.
It's an absolute delight to see an older person brighten up when they hear a cherished song from the past. Or, perhaps you watched someone perk up and show renewed energy when they were reacquainted with an instrument they played in their youth. There are several studies looking at how music can benefit residents in nursing home environments, both through listening and by actively playing instruments.
Music nourishes the soul and strengthens the body, in ways that can be analyzed and explained scientifically, and in ways that are mysterious and magical. These benefits are of enormous value as we age.
4. It will build your confidence.
Imagine how great you'll feel as you conquer your fear, make progress, and master your first piece! Acquiring a fresh set of skills and learning to do something new is always a confidence builder. You'll also feel a sense of satisfaction knowing you had the courage and discipline to put in all that time and work.
5. It will improve your memory.
When you work at something physical over time, you train and build the muscles being used. This applies equally to your memory. Playing an instrument requires that you train and build your memory strength, as you coordinate different activities while applying what you've already learned. In the long term, this can sharpen your memory across all areas of your life.
6. It will help you get more organized.
Where will you store your instrument, so it's easily accessible whenever you're ready to play? How many times a week will you practice, and for how long? Playing an instrument forces you to get organized both with your physical space and with your time.
7. It leads to new social connections.
One of the best things about taking up an instrument is how it paves the way for you to make new social connections. You might have opportunities right within your community to connect with fellow players. Or, you can go online to seek out a teacher or fellow players from around the world.
You can also look for opportunities to play for people. Even if you're at the start of your musical journey, don't let that stop you! You'll obviously want to have some basic skills under your belt so you feel confident, but there's no need to wait until you've achieved "expert" status before you start playing for others.
Ease into things by starting with one song you can play for family and friends in your home. If your instrument is easy to transport and not too loud, consider providing some background music at a social gathering with close friends. This is a great way to gain experience performing without the pressure of being in the spotlight, and your music will give the event a special touch.
Tips for achieving optimal wellness, inside and out.