“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music”. - Albert Einstein
From the youngest age, music represents a very important part of our everyday lives. All of the children are amused my funny children’s song and they can’t fall asleep until their mother sings them their favorite lullaby. People usually don’t think about this very much, as it is pretty intuitive. Even without any scientific data, you are probably aware that music has a huge influence on your mood - it is almost impossible to dance along with a sad and slow song, the same way that it is hard not to tap your feet along some heavy funky beat. However, human relationship with music is much more complex than you might think.
Friedrich Nietzsche said: ‘Without music, life would be a mistake.” Isn’t this true? Nothing can trigger our emotional response like music. Besides that, can you imagine any kind of social gathering without it? Although many people are not aware of this, music can be very beneficial, especially if you go through music education and start playing an instrument.
In the text that follows, we will see what kinds of benefits you can expect from music education.
In today’s society, academic success is everyone’s priority. If you are not successful in school, you can’t expect to have a good and well paid job, to be appreciated in society, to have a carrier, and to be successful in general. Besides that, the lack of success in academic domain will probably have a negative impact on one’s self-esteem and the way that he perceives himself as a person. In these circumstances, a child can easily develop an idea that he is not good enough and that his peers are much more successful than him.
This is often how creative individuals end up, as sometimes it is very difficult for them to fit in their social group. The problem is that creativity is not appreciated enough in schools, so creative individuals usually don’t have an opportunity to express and develop their talent. Music is often considered as more of a hobby or even as a game. However, you should have in mind that, according to one psychological theory, there are different kinds of intelligence, one of which is musical intelligence. If a child is not very good at math or literature, his parents are usually desperate. But if a teacher tells them: “Hey, but he is very talented for music and keyboard playing!” they don’t consider this to be very important information. However, if parents and teacher give this child an opportunity to develop his music talent further, he will soon start to feel that he is successful and that he is actually good at something. There is really no reason to neglect the importance of these creative professions.
Of course, this is not just a case with children, but also with teens. By engaging in music education, they can also increase their self-esteem.
Music can also impact your behavior and habits. It can teach you that discipline and persistence are the means that will enable you to teach new things and develop new skills. You can ask: “Well, why music? There are other ways to develop disciple as well.” Although this is true, there is one thing about the music education and training that makes it perfect for this process, and that is the fact that, in this domain, skill development can be easily noticeable.
The first time you take an instrument into your hands, you don’t know anything about it - how to produce a sound, how to play a note, and even how to hold it. However, after the first session, you already know these things. Then, the problem is how to provide a clear and exact note. In no time, you will learn this as well. So, very soon, you will realize that the effort invested actually pays off, and thus, this knowledge will motivate you to keep on practicing. Of course, this can be generalized on other domains as well; if you could learn how to play a guitar, you can also learn a lot of other things as well.
So, music education and practicing can ensure timely feedback that can ensure long-term positive results and help you to make progress in other domains.
Although it is true that you produce tone with your hands and fingers (sometimes even with your foot) it is actually your brain that is playing. Of course, if you want to play an instrument properly, you have to go through the process of music education simultaneously, as this way you will learn important lessons, such as basic theory, music symbols, patterns, etc…
It has been shown that playing music engages practically the entire brain. It can provide you a whole list of benefits:
- It can help you to resolve problems, because both hemisphere of your brain are active when you play an instrument. For example, let’s consider the process of improvisation; while improvising, you are actually playing spontaneously, without a particular plan or a specific idea what are you going to play next. This is the creative part of the whole process. However, you can’t just play any random note, as you will be out of tune and it will sound horrible! So, even though you are improvising, there are still some rules that you have to follow, so there are basically two processes that are going on at the same time - the analytic and the creative process. This is how you “teach” different parts of your brain to work together.
- It can also improve your long-term memory and language and speech processing.
- There is even evidence that playing music instrument can protect you against dementia.
- There are pieces of evidence that it can improve children reading skills.
Relieves stress and anxiety
It has been shown that playing an instrument can reduce the level of stress and anxiety. How is this possible? Although it may seem strange, this relationship is actually very easy to understand. The main element of stress and anxiety is over-thinking - when you are anxious about something it basically means that you are afraid in advance; you are scared of the things that may never going to happen. Being worry all of the time is a very exhausting and overwhelming process. However, when you take your instrument and start playing, something strange happens - not only do you stop worrying, but you also stop thinking completely! This is because playing is a very complex activity, and thus, your whole brain is preoccupied with it, so it is impossible to think about something else. This is like a form of meditation during which your brain can rest a little; when the playing is over, you will feel relaxed and fulfilled.
You can practice this ritual regularly and use it as your own mini-therapy, as there are no side-effects and it is completely free.
Reducing emotional tension
Besides anxiety, music can also help you reduce your emotional tension. People often can’t express their emotions for a variety of reasons: they can be afraid to do so, or they maybe can’t find the right words, or maybe they are simply not completely aware of it. Whatever the reason may be, music can help. Players are often reporting that when they compose a song (or simply play one) they feel an enormous relief, as if they have taken something off their chest. This is because music is a way to communicate and express all of those feelings that were left behind. Of course, it is even more beautiful when you can materialize this process and compose a new song!
People often forget how important it is to play and have fun. By engaging in music education, you will surely richen your life, as you will surround yourself with the people that share the same interest. As all musicians know, there is not anything like playing with a group of people. In this process, you will exchange your ideas and influences, create new music, jam with your colleague musicians, learn from other people, etc…
Music education is often neglected because music is often referred to as “just” a hobby and not a real profession. This is why many young people are giving up on their music education, despite the fact that they have an interest in music. However, in the text above, a couple of reasons were listed that are illustrating the importance of music education. Although all of these are very important, the crucial thing is to follow your own interests and desires. Of course, if you do follow your dream, no one can guarantee you that you will become successful at it; however, at least you can always sit back and play your favorite tune. On the other hand, if you don’t do it, it is guaranteed that you will regret later.