The Power of Music Lessons, Part 1

I doubt anyone questions the benefits of learning music, but a lot of people probably aren’t aware of just how beneficial they are. Music schools vary greatly in how they approach teaching music, from the Suzuki method to the Kodàly method, but they all have the same wide array of end benefits. You can certainly learn music on your own, but an instructor will help you shore up the finer points of your technique, as well as give you a deeper appreciation of the music you are playing.

Want your child to learn to master their language? The best way might be to get them enrolled in music lessons. A study by MIT compared three groups; one continued normal scholarly activities (the control group), one received 45 minutes of supplementary reading lessons, and the last got supplementary piano lessons. The group that learned the piano ended up outperforming the other two groups in word recognition, beating out even the group that practiced reading. This is likely because differentiating sounds in words and sounds in music develop the same skill set.

Music will also help you develop your interpersonal skills. Studies have shown that learning to play an instrument helps to control anxiety; emotional control is also developed. Further to this, music also helps you develop more self-confidence and self-esteem. Less anxiety and more self-esteem mean compounding positive effects that you can carry with you throughout your life.

No surprise here: music makes you more dexterous. Your muscle memory will obviously improve, as you learn how to play chords, strummed, plucked or bowed. Learning music will also increase activity in your motor cortex, so learning music will actually help you in non-music related physical activities too.

Learning music will also help you age gracefully. Musicians who stopped playing after 10 years still feel the benefits as they age, performing better at feats of mental athletics and quick thinking, as well as visuospatial memory and recall. Learning to play music will also make you better at distinguishing sounds, much like the group of young children we talked about before; that can be handy to pick out specific voices at a party, which can become difficult and frustrating as you age.

Playing a song requires dexterity and memorization. Giving a song life requires a depth of empathy, emotional intelligence, and maturity that’s rare in the world. You need a sense of self, and the ability to put yourself into the song, to feel through it; with practice, you’ll eventually develop these traits.

Think about what we’ve discussed. Music helps your linguistic skills, your reasoning, your dexterity, your motor cortex, reduces your anxiety, increases your empathy; it helps you in every domain of your life. The earlier you get into music the better, and the better your instruction the more quickly all of these domains will develop. Haven’t started learning music yet? Today’s the day.