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How Playing Music Makes Your Life Much Better In All Aspects

How Playing Music Makes Your Life Much Better In All Aspects

I don’t need any empirical evidence to convince you that playing music can improve your life. But playing a musical instrument is more beneficial than simply being an enjoyable activity. Children who grew up with an instrument in their hand are easily able to translate the skills used while rocking out into other aspects of life, making them more apt to succeed in school and their future careers. Besides the ability to entertain a crowd, musicians also show signs of:

1. It increases memory

In a study of 3 and 4 year old children, those who were given keyboard lessons performed 34% better on memory assessments than children who were not given musical lessons. The effects of this experiment also proved to last longer than a superficial amount of time. I’m sure you’ve experienced this in some way as well. I haven’t played piano seriously in years, but whenever I sit down at one, my ability to recall the songs I used to know by heart comes right back to me. And even if you don’t play an instrument, I guarantee you know the words to songs you haven’t heard in years, even if you can’t remember what you had for breakfast this morning.

2. It makes you better at organizational skills

When I was in band throughout grade school, we had a strict regimen that we followed every day: Tune up, play scales to warm up, practice techniques, practice songs. It would make no sense to skip right to practicing songs, because we’d all be out of tune, our fingers wouldn’t be stretched out, and we wouldn’t be practicing the correct methods of playing. We didn’t waste any time during these steps, either. Our time was short, so we needed to be organized.

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3. It improves team skills

If you play music, chances are you play with a group of people. Regardless of how talented you are, being a part of a band or orchestra means playing your part in a group. You might not always get to show off or be the center of attention, but as a member of a team your goal is to help the entire group do its best. You have to know when it’s appropriate to take center stage, and when you need to fade into the background.

4. It increases perseverance

If you don’t play an instrument, you probably think it’s hard to do. If you do play an instrument, you know it’s hard to do, but you don’t let the difficulty of reaching the next level stop you from getting there. In fact, you treat barriers in your talent as hurdles that can be overcome with practice and patience. This can help later in life, as you will undoubtedly face obstacles that can only be overcome through hard work and perseverance.

5. It enhances coordination

Playing an instrument requires different parts of your body to work in complete harmony. If you play guitar, your left hand has to finger chords while your right one strums and picks the strings. And you might end up singing, too. Oh, and you almost might have to read music and lyrics off a page at the same time. Throughout this process, your brain makes connections that simply don’t happen when you’re staring at a TV screen.

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6. It gives you better math skills

Music uses simple and advanced mathematics in a variety of ways. Young children who have been introduced to quarter notes, half notes, and whole notes will almost certainly have a head start when their math teacher introduces fractions. Music theory also correlates with advanced mathematical techniques which I still have a tough time wrapping my head around, so I won’t attempt to explain them here. Suffice it to say, those who have a deep understanding of one of the subjects will most likely succeed in the other.

7. It improves reading and comprehension skills

The connections your brain makes while playing music translate well into reading skills as well. According to a study for Psychology of Music, “Children exposed to a multi-year programme of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers.” While playing musical instruments, both sides of the brain make various connections, enhancing vocabulary and verbal sequencing.

8. It gives you increased responsibility

Having a musical instrument to take care of is an incredible responsibility. If you’re really into playing, you no doubt treat your instrument like a member of your family, and will keep it safe from dings and dents at any cost. As a child, you also have to remember to bring it home to practice and bring it back to school the following day. You also have to keep track of your music, practice records, and everything else involved with being a musician.

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9. It increases discipline

Along with more responsibility, musicians also have increased discipline. You won’t get any better if you don’t practice routinely. And you won’t practice well if you do it on someone else’s terms. You need to be able to schedule your own practice sessions, and keep yourself on track during those sessions. No matter how naturally talented you are, if you don’t put in the effort to get better, you won’t improve.

10. It sharpens concentration

Bands like The Grateful Dead get a bad rap for being aloof hippies living in a cloud of illegal substances. But it takes immense talent and concentration to play music for hours on end and maintain the ability to perform well. Musicians have to stay completely on point with the other members of the band at all times, taking visual and aural clues from each other without pause. When’s the last time you sat down and did anything for more than 30 minutes at a time without checking your phone? Hippies: 1, Everyone else: 0

11. It increases self-expression

Music is an art. It allows us to express ourselves in meaningful ways that can be exhilarating and therapeutic at the same time. If you’re not afraid to get up on stage and bare your soul through song, chances are you’re not afraid to speak up for what you believe in at other times in life. Performing for a group of people instills a sense of confidence and self-worth in musicians that they carry with them forever.

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12. It improves social skills

With the exception of Oasis, most band members get along swimmingly with each other. Not only do they get along with each other, but fans of music generally understand each other a bit more, and are more apt to engage in conversation with like-minded individuals. Most band members share common goals or messages they wish to impart to their fans, as well, and will work together to make their voices heard.

13. It sharpens listening skills

This should come as no surprise, but if you want to succeed as a musician, you have to be a good listener. Like I said before, you have to be able to communicate with band members through audible changes in tone and volume. Of course, you have to have a good ear for the right note for the right situation. Musicians gain this ability by listening to countless others who have paved the way for others to succeed.

14. It exposes you to various cultures

Music is the language of the world. Although it may be expressed through different instruments, and many different cultures have different methods of playing, music can be universally understood by anyone willing to listen. True musicians are open to all different kinds of music, and can appreciate that which is outside of their normal range of taste. Because of this, musicians often find the common ground between a variety of cultures.

15. It increases happiness and self-worth

If the last 14 points haven’t made it clear, playing music is hard work. But it’s also extremely rewarding. Musicians truly love creating music for others, and for themselves, to enjoy. To a musician, there’s nothing more transcendent than playing just the right note that can give a room full of people the chills.

Featured photo credit: Flickrr via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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