Learning to play a musical instrument provides numerous holistic benefits for the mind, body and soul. While a lot of attention has focused on benefits associated with young learners, music has a substantial effect on older adults too. Whether your ambitions are to play at Carnegie Hall one day or to simply learn your favorite songs for your own listening pleasure, don't let a late start keep you from this enjoyable and healthy activity.
Learning a new instrument builds new neural connections which not only facilitates music learning but also strengthens cognitive ability in many different intellectual areas. Individuals perform better in math and science when they learn to play and practice a musical instrument. Areas of the brain that enhance attention are also more highly developed in music learners which contributes to highly developed communication skills.
Musicians also experience more auditory acuteness which enables them to hear and identify sounds that were previously indiscernible. For instance, musicians were better able to distinguish between the words bill and pill. Music engages the brain in ways that enhance memory and attention resulting in better recall of terms and meaning.
Stress reduction is one of the greatest benefits of learning to play a new instrument. When an individual plays an instrument, neurochemicals are released, including endorphins, which reduce mental and physical stress. Endorphins also reduce pain perception and induce feelings and emotions associated with pleasure which facilitates stress reduction.
Studies have also shown that listening to and playing music reduces blood-pressure and may decrease insomnia. It's no wonder that these feel-good chemicals also improve symptoms associated with depression which is a precursor to many health-related issues.
Along with the ability to receive and perceive more information, communication is improved, which leads to more satisfying interaction with others. New information is processed more efficiently which makes learning more satisfying. Feelings of satisfaction while developing a new skill provide incentive to continue with set goals which leads to a sense of accomplishment. Learning to play music also provides a new social outlet and decreases feelings of isolation.
When learning a new instrument you may experience slight discomfort as you begin to use muscles you may not have used in awhile. If you develop soreness as the muscles begin to develop again, use a roll-on topical aid like Bluespring Pain Reliever to alleviate discomfort. Apply before practice to gently warm the muscle group which minimizes tension in the area. When you're finished practicing, apply to the area again to minimize any discomfort. Bluespring also comes in travel sizes, small enough to carry with you on the way to your first recital.