Listening to and playing music increases the amount of a couple types of hormones: endorphins and dopamine. Endorphins are our natural pain killers and they lower stress by counteracting cortisol. A bonus: they boost your immune system. I wonder if that’s why I rarely get sick? Dopamine, nicknamed the “happiness hormone,” is also released when listening to music. However, this only really works with music a person enjoys listening to or playing. This is another reason it’s so important to make sure you’ve found a good teacher!
Improves Comprehension of Other Subjects
Playing an instrument teaches focus since it requires concentrating on one thing for an extended amount of time. It also improves working memory since musicians are constantly required to process new information. Lastly, it teaches perseverance. I learned the value of failing by playing piano and violin, because it required me to keep going in spite of frustration. Improving just one of these areas makes a huge difference academically. Imagine what increasing all of them can do!
Increases Language Ability
When playing music, we use the same part of our brains that we use to process and create language. By learning to distinguish the sounds we play, our brains become better at distinguishing the sounds we hear in the rest of our world. Children who learn to play music become better communicators, and are generally able to express themselves better than their peers.
Increases Brain Connectivity
Playing music requires many parts of the brain to work together at once. Reading music, using your right and left hands together, improvising, memorizing, hearing how you want a song to sound in your head and then making it happen: all of these skills use different parts of the brain, and these are only a few of the processes that happen when playing music. Brain imaging shows big differences between the brain activity of children with no music experience and children with 15 months of lessons and practice: the children with music experience had “rewired” brains, consisting of new networks and connections.
Learning an instrument teaches children and adults how to be more creative, and it gives them an outlet for this newfound creativity. Interpreting how a song should be played and improvising are perfect examples. Many people are under the impression that creativity is naturally possessed by certain people, but I’m here to tell you that anyone can be creative!
Playing music is a wonderful skill for anyone to learn, and on top of the benefits I’ve mentioned, it creates a safe place to relax, forget what is going on in your life, bring beauty into the world, and give joy to yourself and others!