Everyone knows that habits such as eating a healthy diet, doing regular exercise, and engaging in meditation practice can do wonders for your health. You may be surprised, however, to learn that the benefits of playing a musical instrument have the same impact. Musical activity is highly beneficial for physical, emotional, and mental health.
Music is a universal language that transcends different dialects and bridges language barriers. All cultures, even during primitive times, make music. It is so powerful that the Northshore University Health System shared that they use music therapy to enhance conventional treatment for a variety of health issues from anxiety and depression to pain management. Furthermore, Harvard Health reported that playing a musical instrument enhances memory, language skills, and attention span.
Many studies suggest that learning to play an instrument or continuing to engage in your music practice could enhance human health and performance. The human brain is wired to distinguish music from noise, so humans tend to have a positive response to various tones, tunes, and melodies. Check out the top five benefits of playing a musical instrument.
1. The Heart Healthy Benefits of Playing a Musical Instrument
One of the primary benefits of playing a musical instrument is its positive impact on heart health. In a study called Tuning the Heart With Music, it was noted that patients who play an instrument show higher cardiovascular modulation. Blood flows more easily when playing, resulting in the following:
- Lower blood pressure
- More stable heart rate
- Decrease cortisol level or stress hormones
- Increase serotonin hormone for relaxation
Playing a musical instrument can switch off the body’s stress response and playing music promotes the release of calming hormones. This is very good for cardiovascular function as it decreases the burdens on the heart. As an indirect result, this also improves the immune system, reducing the risk of disease. Overall, playing a musical instrument could keep you physically healthy.
2. Playing an Instrument Could Improve Your Mental Health
One of the amazing benefits of playing a musical instrument is its ability to elevate your mood and improve your mental health. Hearing music while playing it alleviates stress by stimulating the biochemical stress reducers to kick in. When you’re feeling down and depressed, picking up a musical instrument could boost your mood because it could release the good brain chemicals. For starters, playing an instrument is likely to help your brain release endorphins or happy hormones.
Remember, you inevitably hear music as you play and this simulates the brain’s amygdala, which is responsible for your moods and emotions. Hence, playing musical instruments could also boost your brain’s dopamine production. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for pleasure, motivation, and satisfaction. When you feel good about what you’re doing, you have a burst of dopamine in the brain. In turn, this relieves anxiousness, sadness, and depression. When you have fewer worries, you could also sleep better and wake up with more energy to face the day.
3. The Benefits of Playing a Musical Instrument Include Mental Sharpness
Playing a musical instrument is good for the brain. A study conducted by the University of Kansas Medical Center attested that musicians have better performance on cognitive tests than those who don’t play instruments. When you regularly practice playing the instrument, you exercise the brain. Several parts of the brain stay engaged whether you play the piano, bang the drums, or blow on a saxophone. Research shows that this constant brain engagement and stimuli reduce the risk of the development of cognitive impairment. A study reported that musicians are 64% less likely to develop dementia.
Moreover, other benefits of playing a musical instrument could include sharpening reading and listening skills. In order to play the instrument correctly, you listen intuitively to assess if you’re performing the right notes. In turn, this consistent practice hones your listening skills which could also help with work or school and foster better relationships because you need to listen to communicate well with a partner. At the same time, being able to read musical notes could also improve your reading and comprehension skills.
Finally, playing an instrument is likely to sharpen your memory and concentration. Musicians often pay attention to the tones, beat, timbre, rhythm, etc of the musical sheets they perform. Some of these elements could have been memorized by heart already due to consistent practice. Concentrating on these musical elements all builds focus, which could translate to other areas in your life.
4. Improve Your Coordination By Playing a Musical Instrument
Among the many benefits of playing a musical instrument include enhancing your physical coordination. Musicians must be able to play their instruments while reading musical sheets. This develops strong hand-eye coordination, which is necessary for doing other functions like cutting paper, writing notes, driving, playing basketball, and the like.
Moreover, since a musician uses multiple senses, namely hearing, sight, and touch, this could also fine-tune reflexes. Studies show that those who have undergone musical training improve their reaction times to both auditory and tactile stimuli compared to non-musical peers. This is because musical training impacts how the brain grows in the auditory, tactile, and visual regions of the brain.
5. Boost Emotional Wellness by Becoming a Musician
When you play a musical instrument, you engage in the art of self-expression. Hence, one of the benefits of playing a musical instrument could be boosting your emotional wellness. Playing an instrument encourages you to dig deep within your soul, fostering a stronger sense of self. Picking up an instrument and playing different tunes is a creative outlet to relieve internal distress and repressed emotions.
When you pick up this positive outlet for unleashing your true self, it keeps you emotionally stable and a lot happier and more satisfied with life. No matter your age, gender, or skill level, you can enjoy many benefits of playing a musical instrument. Engaging in this cognitive exercise is also good for the soul because it has the power to lift your spirits.
If you’re thinking of learning a new hobby that promotes optimal wellness and a better sense of self, you may want to consider playing a musical instrument. You could find out if you’re genetically gifted with music ability by taking a CircleDNA test. It is an at-home, non-invasive DNA test that provides DNA insights across over 500 reports including genetic nutrition information, genetic success traits, ancestry, and possible genetic talents such as the ability to dance, play music, or being genetically gifted at math. The reports from this DNA test are comprehensive and accurate since they’re based on your unique genetic blueprint. You may have a hidden musical talent written in your DNA that you never knew existed, and this DNA test may give you the encouragement you needed to try playing a musical instrument.
- 9 Benefits of Playing Music (Northshore) https://www.northshore.org/healthy-you/9-health-benefits-of-music/
- Music and Health (Harvard Medical School) https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/music-and-health
- Lifetime Benefits of Musical Training (Sebastien Paquette and Genevieve Mignault Goulet) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4010741/
- Tuning the Heart With Music (Soubuthini Selvendran et.al.) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4672252/
- Is Playing a Musical Instrument Good for the Health (Fred Cecetti) https://www.livescience.com/40597-playing-musical-instrument-good-health.html
- Music https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315231
- Does Playing a Musical Instrument Prevent Dementia (Sebastian Walsh) https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/alz.049684