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How Learning A Musical Instrument Makes You A Well Rounded Person

How Learning A Musical Instrument Makes You A Well Rounded Person

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

We have all heard this quote before, and know that to have a well-rounded persona we should have a wide variety of skills and activities we enjoy.

Learning a musical instrument promotes lateral thinking

When learning an instrument or difficult piece of music, often we can get stumped at times. Logically we know what to do in order to get the right notes out at the right time, but for some reason it just doesn’t work as planned.

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When this happens, the music teacher and the student need to think laterally to get around the problem. Thinking creatively to come up with new solutions such as a different practise technique, or a different way of interpreting the music, is essential to progress.

This skill of lateral thinking is so useful in everyday life. Lateral thinkers are better problem solvers.

Playing music engages the left and right brain

Reading music is like reading another language, and the technique involved in playing an instrument requires the same mindset as learning any other skill. When that is combined with conveying emotion and expression through music-making, we get the wonderful benefit of both left and right hemispheres of the brain working together.

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The idea we are using our brains to a great capacity like this whilst doing just one activity is quite extraordinary.

Learning a musical instrument teaches you coordination

To play a musical instrument, your left and right hands need to operate independently. If you play a wind instrument, you also need to coordinate breathing, air flow and articulation. If you play piano, organ or drumkit, your feet also need to work independently.

The fine motor skills learned while playing an instrument can easily transfer to other aspects of your life, for example fast touch typing, playing sport, and multitasking in the workplace.

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Studying music and a musical instrument encourages drive and determination

Learning a musical instrument can be difficult at times. We need to put in time and effort into learning how to read the music, how to technically play the instrument, and how to put it all together so it actually sounds good.

In order to sound good, you need to practice regularly and consistently. Ten minutes a day is enough to improve, but we still need the drive and determination to continue when things get difficult.

Once we learn drive and determination, and how to stick to something, this skill stays with us for life. We can easily use this skill in furthering our career, toughing out hard situations in life, and even in taking up a sport and learning to become better at that.

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Music promotes our well-being

We all need balance in our lives to create a sense of happiness and feel better about ourselves. If we are intently focused on work and career then we lose this balance. By learning or even listening to music, we engage our creativity, which puts us in a state of flow. Being in a state of flow is similar to meditation, in that it relaxes us, increases happiness, and of course, improves our well-being.

 

These are only five points on how learning a musical instrument makes us a well-rounded person, and already we can see just what a big difference these points can make in our every-day life.

You are never too old to take up a musical instrument. I have taught people well into their 60’s and they all do well. If there was ever an instrument you wished you could play, now is a great time to learn!

Featured photo credit: Tekke / Und damals im Ferienlager …. via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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