How Playing a Musical Instrument Affects Mental Health

Music helps people release the locked up part of themselves as they negotiate everyday life and the associated stress. It has a relaxing quality that lowers stress and makes people feel better. People who know how to play a musical instrument typically pick it up at the end of a stressful day in order to play some notes that take them to a different plane of existence. Once people start playing their musical instruments, the mind is transported from the stressful day-to-day life into a different world that is inhabited by musical notes and happy feelings.

A study conducted by the American Psychological Association confirmed that playing a musical instrument from childhood keeps a person’s mind sharper as he ages. In another study conducted by the University of Kansas Medical Center involving healthy adults aged 60 to 83, it was found out that the musicians in the group performed better on a different cognitive test than those group members who do not play any musical instrument.

A person who has been performing musical activities throughout his lifetime is performing a challenging cognitive exercise that makes his brain fitter and up to the task of accommodating the different ageing challenges. Studying how to play a musical instrument involves many years of practice, which creates alternate connections in the human brain that would compensate for cognitive decline as the person gets older.

Playing a musical instrument benefits you as well as the people around you.  The following are some of the mental health benefits of playing a musical instrument:

  1. Increases the capacity of your memory. Playing a musical instrument stimulates the brain and increases the memory. Research has shown that regularly playing a musical instrument can change the power and shape of the brain, making playing a musical instrument an effective therapy to improve a person’s cognitive skills. Pieces of evidence are emerging that a musician’s brain is functionally and organizationally different to the brain of a non-musician, especially with regards to the area of the brain that is used in processing and playing music. A person who knows how to play a musical instrument has a more active brain part that controls the motor skills. His memory actually grows and become more active. Other studies show that playing a musical instrument can increase a person’s IQ by around seven points.
  2. Refines your time management and organisational skills. A person who is learning how to play a musical instrument has to learn how to be organised and to be able to manage his time wisely. A musician clearly understands that the quality of his practice time is more important than the quantity. A person who is learning how to play a musical instrument can progress faster if he will learn how to organise his practice time and make plans to work on the different challenges playing a musical instrument brings. He has to efficiently use his time if he wants to progress in his playing.
  3. Enhances your coordination. Playing a musical instrument requires hand-eye coordination. The musician’s brain has to subconsciously convert the musical notes he reads into specific motor patterns while also adding rhythm and breathing to the mix. It requires lots of practice to achieve such degree of coordination, something that may prove to be very difficult for people who do not play any musical instrument.
  4. Sharpens your concentration. Playing a musical instrument requires concentration on different things such as rhythm, pitch, tempo, note duration, and quality of sound. When playing a musical instrument as part of a group requires a higher level of concentration because the musician has to hear himself while also listening to all the other sections and to play his instrument in harmony with the other members of the group.
  5. Relieves stress. Playing a musical instrument can relieve stress and allows a person to foster self-expression. As he advances in playing his instrument, he can play it the way he wants it. Music allows a person to express his emotions in the same manner a painter expresses his emotions in the canvass.

It will be a great advantage if learning to play an instrument starts at an early age. There are different musical instruments a child can learn to play. Getting a child the best student violin brands will enable him to learn to play this exquisite musical instrument that will enhance his mental health for many years to come.

Also read: How Asylums Help Deliver Fresh Music To Audience?

Leave a Reply