4 Ways How Learning a New Musical Instrument Can Improve Your Life

Image by Peter Fischer from Pixabay

Why music has the power to change your consciousness and realize your potential

Music has always had a great impact on humans. We use music to express ourselves, bond with others, heighten our consciousness, and much more. There’s no surprise then, that music has been around for so long — longer than we would imagine.

BBC found that the earliest instruments dated back to 42,000–43,000 years old in a German cave. These were flutes made from bird bone and mammoth ivory. Needless to say, music is a fundamental way of expression and connections.

Today too, we can see the evidence of this truth in our AI-driven 21st-century era. Meaning, if you want to know something about a total stranger, you can accurately guess his characteristics on the basis of his Spotify history and recommendations.

Being a music lover, I like to go one step ahead — to not just listen but play the instruments and sing the songs. Passive listening to music is fun too, but there’s nothing like being able to play the music you enjoy.

After playing multiple instruments, I’m convinced that everyone should learn at least one in their life. Here’s why.

Why Music Unlocks Your Brain Potential

“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”. — Einstein

Learning new skills keeps our brains sharp. That’s true for musical instruments as well. However, there are certain special benefits to this as well.

Studies show that both playing and listening makes you smarter because these activities release more BDNF, CREB, and synapsin 1 — all elements that strengthen mental capabilities.

These studies have also revealed the molecular basis for the Mozart Effect. The music of Mozart especially has melodies and vibrations that make people smarter. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease perform better on spatial and social tasks after listening to the sonata. And playing Mozart for severely epileptic patients quietens the electrical activity associated with seizures, while other kinds of music do not.

By quoting all these studies, I may be overstating a simple point that learning a musical instrument will require you to develop new abilities, thereby making you a better, more capable person.

These abilities include things like active listening, motor skills like hand movements, and even improving abilities in science, mathematics, and language for students. Playing an instrument is also a great stress reliever. I often find myself lost in my instruments completely forgetting what I was stressed about.

And finally, music breeds creativity like no other activity. There’s endless room for experimentation in every instrument. Once you get the hang of the basics, your creativity starts to flow. You can write music, or tweak existing ones to make them your own. It’s a great way to exercise the mind.

Music Helps You Express Yourself Much Better

Playing an instrument makes it fun to hang out with friends and just jam. This is especially great if you have friends who also play and sing. There’s hardly anything as a fun jamming session.

But even beyond that, research has shown that music helps us tremendously during social situations including work, friendship, and intimate relationships as well.

The way music trains our mind and body also helps us develop virtues like cooperation, time management, concentration, listening, and so on. Any relationship expert will expound on the importance of these skills.

There’s one more crucial life skill that music helps us hone — self-expression. This is evident in the fact that you can know more about musicians by listening to the music they produce than by spending time with them.

When we sing, play or compose music, we express our internal state without any filters. This teaches us to be aware of our feelings and share them with others in an understandable manner.

Music Can Shift Your Emotional State in A Minute

This perhaps is the most obvious point of all. Everyone has felt the power of music to change our moods. If we’re angry, a melody of love can melt our hearts instantly. The right song can make us feel elated, angry, enthusiastic, or confused.

This is why you see people in the gym banging music in their ears — it helps them get in the right frame of mind. As I said above, often after playing for a few minutes, I find my mood completely changed no matter how bad it was before.

Learning a new instrument also helps us master our emotions and push through the tough phases while mastering a song, a new chord, melody, etc.

The bottom line, however, is simple — music makes us happy. And being actively engaged in the process of creating it makes us even happier. Thus, without a doubt, many of my happiest moments in college were the times I played in a band or choir. Without music, life in college would’ve been mind-numbingly dull.

Music Has the Power to Change Your Consciousness

Music has vibrations that surpass your intellect and go straight to your heart and the subconscious mind. Studies have also shown a correlation between criminal activity and certain kinds of rap music.

And while correlation isn’t causation, the point I’m trying to make is we’re attracted to the kind of music that matches our consciousness and the corollary is true as well — by listening to the music of higher vibrations we can induce positive changes within ourselves.

Final Thoughts

If you’re like most people, music is already an important part of your life. Perhaps you can’t hit the gym without your favorite track. Perhaps you adore your Beethoven radio while driving.

Whatever it is, we have our own musical favorites. Playing an instrument you love just takes that experience to a whole new level. Suddenly, you can go from passive listening to active participation which thrills your mind, body, and soul.

After learning instruments like Tabla (Indian drums), Flute, Guitar, etc, I’ve never been more convinced of the power of music — more so for the musician than for the listener.

The call to action then is simple:

  • Identify 2–3 instruments you’d like to learn
  • Pick and purchase one of them
  • Search for an online course or a teacher
  • Keep practicing until you reach a level where you can truly enjoy the process.

Before you know it, you’ll have a hobby that you didn’t even know you need!

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Written on September 8, 2021