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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 February 15, 2019

Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

In Personal Development-speak, we are always talking about goals, outcomes, success, desires and dreams. In other words, all the stuff we want to do, achieve and create in our world.

And while it’s important for us to know what we want to achieve (our goal), it’s also important for us to understand why we want to achieve it; the reason behind the goal or some would say, our real goal.

Why is goal setting important?

1. Your needs and desire will be fulfilled.

Sometimes when we explore our “why”, (why we want to achieve a certain thing) we realize that our “what” (our goal) might not actually deliver us the thing (feeling, emotion, internal state) we’re really seeking.

For example, the person who has a goal to lose weight in the belief that weight loss will bring them happiness, security, fulfillment, attention, popularity and the partner of their dreams. In this instance, their “what” is weight-loss and their “why” is happiness (etc.) and a partner.

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Six months later, they have lost the weight (achieved their goal) but as is often the case, they’re not happier, not more secure, not more confident, not more fulfilled and in keeping with their miserable state, they have failed to attract their dream partner.

After all, who wants to be with someone who’s miserable? They achieved their practical goal but still failed to have their needs met.

So they set a goal to lose another ten pounds. And then another. And maybe just ten more. With the destructive and erroneous belief that if they can get thin enough, they’ll find their own personal nirvana. And we all know how that story ends.

2. You’ll find out what truly motivates you

The important thing in the process of constructing our best life is not necessarily what goals we set (what we think we want) but what motivates us towards those goals (what we really want).

The sooner we begin to explore, identify and understand what motivates us towards certain achievements, acquisitions or outcomes (that is, we begin moving towards greater consciousness and self awareness), the sooner we will make better decisions for our life, set more intelligent (and dare I say, enlightened) goals and experience more fulfilment and less frustration.

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We all know people who have achieved what they set out to, only to end up in the same place or worse (emotionally, psychologically, sociologically) because what they were chasing wasn’t really what they were needing.

What we think we want will rarely provide us with what we actually need.

3. Your state of mind will be a lot healthier

We all set specific goals to achieve/acquire certain things (a job, a car, a partner, a better body, a bank balance, a title, a victory) because at some level, most of us believe (consciously or not) that the achievement of those goals will bring us what we really seek; joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

Of course, setting practical, material and financial goals is an intelligent thing to do considering the world we live in and how that world works.

But setting goals with an expectation that the achievement of certain things in our external, physical world will automatically create an internal state of peace, contentment, joy and total happiness is an unhealthy and unrealistic mindset to inhabit.

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What you truly want and need

Sometimes we need to look beyond the obvious (superficial) goals to discover and secure what we really want.

Sadly, we live in a collective mindset which teaches that the prettiest and the wealthiest are the most successful.

Some self-help frauds even teach this message. If you’re rich or pretty, you’re happy. If you’re both, you’re very happy. Pretty isn’t what we really want; it’s what we believe pretty will bring us. Same goes with money.

When we cut through the hype, the jargon and the self-help mumbo jumbo, we all have the same basic goals, desires and needs:

Joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

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Nobody needs a mansion or a sport’s car but we all need love.

Nobody needs massive pecs, six percent body-fat, a face lift or bigger breasts but we all need connection, acceptance and understanding.

Nobody needs to be famous but we all need peace, calm, balance and happiness.

The problem is, we live in a culture which teaches that one equals the other. If only we lived in a culture which taught that real success is far more about what’s happening in our internal environment, than our external one.

It’s a commonly-held belief that we’re all very different and we all have different goals — whether short term or long term goals. But in many ways we’re not, and we don’t; we all want essentially the same things.

Now all you have to do is see past the fraud and deception and find the right path.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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