The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche had a questioning view on everything and said many things that many people couldn’t quite comprehend at the time. But the things Nietzsche said about music have found a near universal comprehension. These are some of the clearest, most lucid descriptions of the power and beauty of music. The man may have died over a century ago but his body of work is awash with reasons why everyone ought to play at least one instrument.
“What trifles constitute happiness! The sound of a bagpipe. Without music life would be a mistake. The German imagines even God as a songster.” - Friedrich Nietzsche
Reasons Why Everyone Should Learn a Music Instrument
This argument may sound like romanticism, but music brings much value to our everyday life. Cognitive and social developmental scientists are almost unanimous on the impact that playing a musical instrument has. It has intellectual, physical, and social developmental benefits to people of all ages.
As evidence of this, most modern education curriculums now have music as a core subject. Let’s unpack some of the many benefits of playing musical instruments:
1. Music Helps You Develop Coordination and Physical Skills
Studies have shown that music induces spontaneous body movement. Because our brain is wired to decode music sounds as soothing and entertaining, playing music forces a near involuntary movement of the limbs, which allows us to develop our coordination skills and exercise our bodies. Some instruments, like drums, also require quite a bit of physical exertion.
2. Music Helps Exercise Your Mind and Build Your Intellect
Not to dissuade you from choosing one instrument over others, but learning and playing instruments like the piano, accordion, and violin can sometimes get so complicated you will feel like you are back in college math class. You often have to switch your brain into a higher gear to get a handle on the harder chords.
Try sight reading some of these instruments and it will feel like mental gymnastics. But one thing is for sure; all this is great brain exercise that will do your intellectual faculties no harm over the years
3. Music Trains You to Be Patient
Mastering music instruments often requires a significant time investment. Building your technique and muscle memory will call for persistent practice. It will force you to be patient. Patience is an important foundational trait, especially for children who will need to accept that true education, as with anything that’s good in life, takes patience.
The greatest instrumentalists will quickly testify that they had to exercise a lot of patience to get as good as they are. Patience is one of the first things they will advise for every learner guitarist, pianist, drummer, or anyone else trying to master an instrument.
4. Music Boosts Your Self-Esteem
Music therapy improves self-esteem and reduces depression in adolescents. Besides its therapeutic effect on the depressed and emotionally challenged, the mere fact you have learnt and can now play a musical instrument is a cause for pride, which will validate your self-worth and can be very uplifting.
5. Music Helps You Build Social Skills
Granted, a musical instrument can be enjoyed in solitude; there is greater enjoyment to be had when you play for others or as part of an ensemble. Playing for others, or with others, encourages you to interact and network with other people, even if you are not naturally an outgoing person.
Taking music lessons and joining music clubs where you interact with people who share similar interests will, in the process, help you build your social skills. To play in tune with band mates, players must also share rhythms and often exchange visual gestures to synchronize performances. Because of this, band mates end up sharing a near telepathic understanding of each other, even beyond music.
6. Music Will Build Your Empathic Skills
Closely related to the point above, playing music helps activate an area of the brain called the theory of mind. This area of the mind is related to our feelings of empathy. It is also well known that long-term musical group interaction has a positive influence on empathy in children.
The study noted that music interaction for children increases emotional empathy towards others - even outside musical contexts. Learning and playing musical instruments, especially in group settings, can have a profound effect on social-emotional capacities. It is not inconceivable that a similar effect can be achieved on older people.
7. Aids in Cultural Cohesion
Several instruments now have an almost universal appeal. But almost all instruments can be traced back to a particular country, tribe, or group of people. Some of them are used in important festivals and rituals that bring people together and help mark their customs.
Even to this day, some instruments are still synonymous with certain festivals. These instruments help unite people around their cultural beliefs. Just as with learning a local language, learning and playing a local music instrument is one of the best ways to merge into a new culture. It helps you gain acceptance where you would otherwise be treated as a perpetual outsider.
8. Playing an Instrument May Be Your Ticket To Fame and Fortune
You never know who could be listening when you are just casually singing or playing your instrument. There are many musicians who were discovered while minding their everyday business. You may not set out be become a music star, as indeed most people will play music instruments just for personal enjoyment, but it could open doors to a lucrative career in music.
9. Live Music Is Great Entertainment
What form of entertainment doesn’t involve some music? There could be, but almost any social gathering can be enlivened by a melodic sound. Omitting music from any celebration will make you the ultimate party pooper. The easiest way to rescue such an occasion would be to pick up the guitar yourself and belt out a few hits. It will also endear you to fellow guests.
Take A Challenge And Learn A Music Instrument Today
Why not challenge yourself and learn a music instrument today. Just for the fun of it. If you allow it, music can lift your mood, soothe an aching heart, and, if only for that brief moment, make you forget everything else happening around you.
About the Author: Julie Adams
I am a mom, a music lover and teacher from Tampa, FL. After completing a Bachelor of Music in Performance Arts, I traveled for several years before returning home where I started offering private piano and singing lessons as extra income. I met my husband in 2009 and 2 years later moved to Dallas where we settled down and I started focusing on vocal training to aspiring singers and performance artists of all age groups. I still enjoy playing the piano very much, and in my spare time you will catch doing some horse riding, drawing, doing some light reading, or just spending quality time with my family.