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Playing an Instrument: Let the Music Make you Happy

Playing an Instrument: Let the Music Make you Happy

It is a well-known fact that music is humanity’s ticket to a never-ending fountain of emotions. Many have drunk its dazzling water; thus, giving us the best solution for everything life throws at us.

It is said that the only thing better than listening to music is creating it yourself. The path to discovering your inner musician is paved with a few thorns, but that doesn’t mean that the journey itself isn’t worth the trouble.

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley

An extensive study carried out by Wheaton College has shown that music provides long-term benefits with an emphasis on increasing your brain productivity and sharpness. It is undeniable that music brings forth our underlying emotions (some might even say our soul) and you have all experienced it. Just think of those times when you felt goosebumps from your favorite song, or even direct empathy from a musical piece you haven’t heard before. Now imagine creating that feeling by yourself. Imagine being the one in control of the notes as if they were words.

You should also know that playing an instrument gives you a real advantage in life. The benefits are numerous, but the most important one is improving yourself as a person. Just as our body needs food and water to survive, think of music as the bread for the soul. Even if you’re not really aiming for nirvana through musical literacy, you will at least start seeing the world with a new set of eyes.

Getting started

getting into playing an instrument

    After you have decided that you are committed to learning an instrument, there are still a couple of things you need to get sorted out before actually taking the instrument in your hands. Being that you are probably an adult, first make sure that you clear up your daily schedule. Practice makes perfect and you will need to play almost every day in order to have visible progress.

    A ton of patience – Prepare yourself mentally that learning to play an instrument is not a short process. You will have many obstacles to clear and for every up in your playing, expect a down as well. Believe in yourself and be confident: music is more of a psychological challenge than a physical one.

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    Find a teacher or other teaching methods – You will be surprised how many great musicians live in your area and are ready to give lessons. Use them as much as you can, as a professional will gladly reveal all the tips and tricks to a persistent student. On the other hand, you can get online tutoring. Or if you are feeling up to it, you can use one of the many textbooks on the market to get started.

    Get all the accessories you’ll need – By accessories I mean getting a notebook (a music journal or manuscript paper), a suitable case for your instrument, and any additional equipment you might need. Brushing up on musical theory is also something you might want to consider if you are not a total beginner.

    Picking out an instrument

    All that is left is to pick the instrument you will use to create music. Reasons for picking an instrument are numerous, but let’s narrow down your search by implementing certain search factors that are common for most beginners.

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      The music you like

      More often than not, people want to learn to play an instrument in order to recreate their favorite music. Choosing an instrument this way can be very helpful, because you will have more inspiration and are far less likely to give up before you can jam along with your preferred band.

      However, choosing an instrument because of a single band can be misleading. After a few years, your taste in music might change, and you might find yourself unable to play a particular tune on your instrument. Therefore, I recommend choosing a versatile instrument, one that can carry out multiple genres.     

      Finding a teacher

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      I have already emphasized the importance of having a teacher and the more “exotic” your instrument, the more difficult it becomes to find a teacher in your neighborhood. Considering the speed of modern lifestyle, the last thing you’d like is to travel for hours every day only to have that didjeridu class.

      The number of available teachers refers to another factor that shouldn’t become one of your primary reasons, but it definitely makes a difference.

      The popularity of an instrument

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        Even though you shouldn’t be led by the popularity of an instrument, it comes as natural that there are certain advantages in picking a popular instrument. First, it is easy to buy one along with any additional equipment; and second, the number of people you can play with is simply larger with a violin than with a specially made diatonic accordion.

        Singing and playing at the same time 

        Having in mind that you are a true music aficionado, you will probably want to make the most out of your music-playing experience. Letting your voice be heard comes as a logical continuation. Furthermore, having the option of being able to sing while playing means that you will be able to mimic popular songs and famous bands entirely.

        With everything in mind for the goal of helping a beginner choose the instrument that will help to express their creativity, I’ve narrowed down my recommendation to two instruments.

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        Digital Pianos and Guitars – these two instruments fit perfectly inside every parameter I mentioned earlier. Among the most popular and easily recognizable instruments in the world, digital pianos and guitars offer a colorful array of possible music with easy accessibility.

        Perfect for feature solo artists as well those looking forward to playing in a band, digital pianos and guitars can lead, support, or even solely carry an entire musical piece.

        Digital Pianos

        playing an instrument - digital piano

          Digital pianos basically mimic the sound of an acoustic piano with the distinction that a digital piano can be carried around, whereas acoustic pianos move around only in cartoons. Digital pianos are actually recommended for learning, as they come with features specially made to suit a beginner. Of course, everything you learn by practicing with a digital piano is applicable on an acoustic piano. Digital pianos basically use sampled piano sounds which are amplified through a loudspeaker.

          In fact, digital pianos have several advantages over their acoustic counterparts. Much smaller and lighter, digital pianos are far less expensive. With digital pianos, you have the option of adjusting the volume, and some digital pianos even have the option of playing different sounds (not just the piano) such as the pipe organ and harpsichord.

          Digital pianos do not require tuning and are simply perfect as a stable musical platform that you can use wherever and whenever you wish.

          Guitars

          playing an instrument - guitar

            As you all probably know, a guitar is a string instrument usually with six strings and, in a way, represents a modern continuation of one of the oldest instruments. Over the years, guitars have become an epitome of coolness and have made their way into almost every genre of music.

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            There are several basic types of guitars for you to choose from:

            Acoustic Guitars

            Acoustic guitars create their sound without any means of amplification (except the body of the guitar). They have a rich sound and are mainly reserved for small venues. There are numerous types of acoustic guitars with the main differences being the tonal qualities.

            Acoustic-Electric Guitars

            Acoustic-electric guitars are basically acoustic guitars that have a plug for an amplifier or a recording device. Unamplified, they are similar to acoustic guitars. But once plugged in, acoustic-electric guitars make a distinctive sound right between an electric and an acoustic guitar.

            Electric Guitars

            Electric guitars, as their name suggests, are designed to be played with an amplifier. Unamplified, electric guitars produce a very shy sound. Once jacked-up, a skilled artist can make it cry or weep, as Mark Knopfler once famously put it.

            Bass Guitars

            Bass guitars do not have the flashy, slick popularity of their electric cousins; nevertheless, they create a unique sound in music. Originally made to be a part of the rhythm section of a band, bass guitars are stable and reliable. In the hands of a master, bass guitars can perform truly breathtaking musical phrases.

            The final choice is yours

            The last task for you is to embark on the beautiful journey of exploring the seas of music. Remember, there are no standard paths, no shortcuts, and no wrong turns. Keep a pace that best suits your preferences and try your best to make the music that makes you happy and satisfied.

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            Dejan Kvrgic

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            Last Updated on March 25, 2020

            How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

            How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

            When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

            So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

            1. Exercise

            It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

            2. Drink in Moderation

            I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

            3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

            Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

            4. Watch Less Television

            A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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            Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

            5. Eat Less Red Meat

            Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

            If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

            6. Don’t Smoke

            This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

            7. Socialize

            Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

            8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

            Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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            9. Be Optimistic

            Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

            10. Own a Pet

            Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

            11. Drink Coffee

            Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

            12. Eat Less

            Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

            13. Meditate

            Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

            Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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            How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

            14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

            Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

            15. Laugh Often

            Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

            16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

            Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

            17. Cook Your Own Food

            When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

            Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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            18. Eat Mushrooms

            Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

            19. Floss

            Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

            20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

            Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

            Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

            21. Have Sex

            Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

            More Health Tips

            Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

            Reference

            [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
            [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
            [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
            [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
            [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
            [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
            [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
            [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
            [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
            [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
            [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
            [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
            [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
            [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
            [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
            [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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