Everyone said you must learn math because you won’t always have a calculator handy? Remember? Oh wait, you do always have a calculator, on your phone! You can even ask Siri or Alexa if your hands are busy. Sure, math is important but what if there are more benefits of learning to play an instrument? What if there are other ways that learning to play an instrument help you?
A recent study from MIT showed that learning to play an instrument improves your language skills. A group of children were given piano lessons. Another group was not. After 6 months, they compared them. The children that were learning to play an instrument were way better at differentiating words. The amazing thing was, this study was done in China and the language was Mandarin. The subtle difference in sounds makes all the difference in those words.
The Life Skills of Learning to Play an Instrument.
Most of us have the chance to learn to play a musical instrument in school. Being part of the school band teaches you how to be part of a team. It teaches you that everyone’s instrument is important to the success of the band (or team). Being part of a band shows how people can make beautiful music by working together.
As you get better at an instrument in school, you may earn the “First Chair” position where you’ll be playing the lead parts. More importantly, you become responsible for the performance of your section of players. You’ll learn how to help your bandmates to practice together, improve together, and most importantly, perform together.
As you get better at learning an instrument, you may earn the “First Chair” position. This is where you’ll learn to play the lead parts.
You also become responsible for the performance of your section of players. You’ll learn to practice together, improve together, and perform together. Your leadership of your section shows how “leading from the front” works.
Promotes social skills.
Being part of something like the school band teaches you about making new friends. It shows how easy it is to connect with new people. You learn when to play and when to listen. In fact, many of the kids you meet may become friends for life with a shared love of music.
Better public speaking skills
Playing your instrument in front of your fellow students and at a concert for parents teaches you how to perform in public. Performing under pressure, helps with public speaking in your academic and professional careers. Being good at public speaking means better job promotion chances and higher pay.
Teaches perseverance and discipline
Learning a musical instrument will take hours of practice, sacrifice, and commitment. It teaches you that persevering to doing something well is worth the it. Like learning to play a new piece of music. The reward of playing the notes perfect at a concert. The feeling of reward for the hours and hours of practice, shows that hard work pays off. Taking care of your instrument also requires discipline. Most instruments need regular care to look and perform their best.
Improved concentration and listening skills
Playing with others will be hard at first. When you learn to play an instrument, you’ll have to do many things at once. For example, you’ll have to watch the band teacher, listen to others, and play your instrument. With practice and focus, this will become easier. Learning to do many things at once, will make school and work easier. You will be able to concentrate on your task while listening at the same time.
Improve self esteem
Playing an instrument will be rewarding when done well. This makes you feel better about yourself. Pro musicians often talk about the joy of playing their instruments when they were young. Learning to create your own happiness is a valuable life skill. Doing something that makes you feel great about yourself is something everyone needs.
Math, language, and Life Skills. The next question is…
What Instruments Should I Play?
Learning to play an instrument for most children starts between 5th and 7th grade. This is usually by joining the school band as a class they take. There are many different musical instruments in a school band your child can learn to play. Most school bands will have:
- Brass Instruments List: This includes musical instruments mostly made of brass or other metals. The musical notes your child makes is by blowing into a mouthpiece and buzzing their lips. This sound is turned into musical notes by the instrument. Your child changes the notes they play by blowing at different levels and pressing the keys on the instrument. The Brass instruments most often found in this section are the trumpet (or cornet), French horn, trombone, baritone, and tuba.
- Woodwinds Instruments List: This includes musical instruments mostly made of wood or were traditionally made of wood in the past. The way these instruments create music is by blowing into a mouthpiece that has a thin strip of wood called a “reed” and making it buzz. The instrument then has holes with covers that your child closes or opens. In the case of the flute and piccolo, there is no “reed”, but an opening your child blows across making a sound. The Woodwinds instruments found in this section are the flute, piccolo, clarinet, saxophone (and variants of it), and the oboe.
- Percussion Instruments List: This includes musical instruments that are struck with a stick or mallet. These may be considered the most physically demanding of all the instruments found in a school band. While the other instruments play for periods of time during a song, the percussion section usually plays the whole time. This is because the percussion section sets the timing or beat of the song for the band to play along to. The Percussion instruments found in this section are the snare drum, the bass drum, and the cymbal. There are many other Percussion instruments such as the kettle drums, xylophone, bells, and tambourine.
What Is The Easiest Instrument To Learn?
Each instrument in the band has a unique sound. Likewise, each instrument takes different skills to play well. If your child is left handed for example, a French horn might be a great choice as the keys are moved by the left hand. If your child likes to tap their feet or fingers to music, the drums might be a great choice. There are only 3 keys to press on a trumpet for example which may be easier if your child struggles with their left-hand dexterity. “Playing” to your child’s strengths or tendencies will help get them started. Encourage them to try different instruments to see which they like and shown some innate skills. There is no easiest instrument to learn based on the instrument itself. It comes down to what instrument your child shows the most interest in and skills. The easiest instrument to learn is the one your child enjoys the most and will practice the most.
This is how learning to play an instrument helps you. There’s no question math, motor skills, and cognitive skills will improve. Doing something that requires hard work, dedication, and commitment is rare these days. These life skills will make us happier, healthier, and more successful. These are the real benefits of learning to play an instrument.
Plato: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”