I recently wrote a post on why you should take guitar lessons, which focused mainly on how a good teacher can improve your guitar playing. However, today I thought I’d take a look at the benefits of taking music lessons and playing a musical instrument as a whole, no matter which instrument you play! So without further adieu, let’s take a look at the surprising benefits of music lessons.
- Music Lessons Can Raise Your IQ
“Life without playing music is inconceivable to me. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I get most joy in life out of music.” – Albert Einstein.
Einstein’s mother really believed in the power of music, so much so that, by all accounts, the young genius began playing the violin at age six, before being able to play Mozart’s sonatas by the age of thirteen. In fact, three of the most prominent classical composers of all time, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, were all estimated to have had IQs of around 165, which is in the high genius category!
So how does this apply to you? Well, believe it or not, studies have shown that playing a musical instrument can raise your IQ by as much as five to seven points. Apparently, regularly playing an instrument changes the shape and power of the brain, since you are training your body to learn new actions. This causes an increase in brain activity and can boost IQs of both children and adults, with children who begin their musical training before the age of seven seeing the greatest effects, according to researchers.
2. Playing An Instrument Increases Coordination
This does slightly tie in to point number one, but whether you or your child opts for guitar, drums, bass, piano, violin or saxophone, all musical instruments require a certain level of coordination in order to be able to play them properly. Speaking from experience, learning the guitar requires the fingers and hands to be able to move both independently and in sync with each other. Piano and drums will see you performing different rhythms with both hands and feet at the same time, whereas the saxophone will see the player have to successfully coordinate movements of both tongue and fingers in order to make the right sounds. Most teachers and students of other instruments that I speak to have all attested to the above, in that they have seen an increase in motor skills since taking up a musical instrument.
3. Music Lessons Improve Discipline
Of course, a good teacher can make a huge difference to how good you get on your chosen instrument. However, any musician who has reached a good standard will tell you that you’re not going improve much unless you practice! A good teacher can show you how to play your favourite songs with the right technique, but if you don’t practice, then you’ll simply be repeating the same lesson week after week. In order to get the most out of music lessons, ideally students will set aside time every day in order to practice what they have been shown in the previous lesson, ready to move on and learn something new for next time. This kind of dedication can lead to a natural improvement in time management in other areas in life, as I frequently see kids who can set aside time to practice an instrument also become quite good at handing in homework on time at school!
4. Music Lessons Can Introduce You To New Music
I don’t know how other teachers do it, but I usually try and gear my lessons towards teaching the student stuff they want to learn. So, for example, if I get a student who likes Ed Sheeran, then I’ll try and find an Ed Sheeran song that I can teach them that’s suited to their level and is going to improve their playing in the process. However, there are often times when I think a student will benefit from learning a song or a piece of music from an artist that they’ve never heard of before, thus introducing them to a new artist, or even a new genre that they were previously unfamiliar with. I’ve also had a number of students in the past asking me about my own musical tastes and influences, which in turn encourages them to check out the artists who have inspired me to further broaden their musical horizons.
5. Music Lessons Can Increase Your Social Circle
I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve met through simply playing music. From taking guitar lessons at a young age, I was given the confidence from my teacher to seek out other musicians and join a band, which introduced to me to a number of like minded people who I am still in touch with today. Because you all share a common interest, you will find it easier to form good, long lasting friendships that will stand the test of time.
However, playing live and joining a band isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that you still can’t make friends from taking regular music lessons. There are many classes for both adults and children where musical instruments are taught in a group session (I teach at one such place myself) giving you the opportunity to meet like minded people who share your passion for music. Finally, simply mentioning the fact that you’re learning a musical instrument in conversation with pretty much anyone can be such a great talking point, as most people have a natural interest in music on some level, and many have tried to play something at least once in their life, giving you the chance to compare notes (no pun intended!)
So what are you waiting for? Choose your instrument, find a great teacher and let music lessons enrich your life!