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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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            Last Updated on August 15, 2018

            7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

            7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

            Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

            Video Summary

            Why is it important to train up our core strength?

            There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

            This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

            Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

            In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

            One Exercise, multiple benefits

            There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

            By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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            When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

            Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

            In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

            What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

            What will happen when you start doing planks every day

              1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

              Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

              • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
              • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
              • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
              • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

              2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                  Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                  4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                    Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                    A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                    A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                    On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                    5. You’ll improve overall balance

                      Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                      6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                        Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                        7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                          Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                          How to hold a plank position

                          1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                          2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                          3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                          4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                          5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                          6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                          7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                          Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                          Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                            How to improve your plank time gradually

                            1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                            2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                            3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                            Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                            Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                            You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                            • Prolapse
                            • After prolapse surgery
                            • Pelvic pain conditions
                            • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                            • Previous childbirth
                            • Overweight

                            Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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