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The health benefits of learning to play an instrument

Music heals

Music is arguably one of the first human creations in the sphere of arts. We have always appreciated the value of nice sounds and combined voices, so it makes sense that from the very beginning we wanted to create some of our own. Perhaps rythm was first, making sound by hitting objects or clapping, and instinctively feeling the beat. Perhaps it was singing, derived from the sounds of nature. Whatever it was, music has always been there, and it will be there for as long as we are.

Scientists have showed interest in how music affects us, for the better or for the worse. Research shows that songs and musical sounds have a strong impact in our brains and the rest of our body. In a way, our brain controls everything in us, including our organs, our vital signs, our experiences, our hormones, our feelings and thoughts. You change the brain, and you change everything.

The healing power of music has been used in primitive civilizations for a very long time. Shamans and healers played the drums, sang to the spirits and danced to relieve pain from the body and the heart. Nowadays, music therapy is an established approach to many conditions, and research supports the hypothesis of the healing qualities of music. 

What it does for you

Everyone likes some style of music and enjoys listening to it, but doing so has more benefits than you think. In example, there is the popular belief that there's a "Mozart effect", which means that listening to Mozart's music makes you more intelligent. Surprisingly, this is true, but not in the way people think. Studies show that people's intellectual performance in intelligence tests improves significantly after listening to any genre of music they enjoy. Music stimmulates cognitive areas of the brain if we find it pleasurable, so it literally makes you smarter after you listen to it. Further research has concluded that listening to music can slow down cognitive aging by stimulating your neurons and enhancing your possitive experiences of life. In other words, if you listen to nice music at all ages, you will always be young at heart.

Music can also help you relieve stress, which is beneficial for your health. Your whole body can relax and your mind is set in a state of joyfulness or peace that can decrease negative thoughts. Dancing, tapping your feet or moving in place releases neurotransmissors that boost your cognitive performance, increase your motivation and activate your blood circulation.

There are medical interventions with music and patients that aim to reduce stress and diverse attention from the painful aspects of a health conditions to possitive prospects and nice activities, like singing or playing an instrument, which have proved to have a possitive impact in the overall pronostic and recovery of a patient.

Playing an instrument

When you play an instrument, you can benefit from all the possitive aspects of music as described above. Also, you get some extra, so it is worth it to consider learning it, for a number of reasons. 

When you play an instrument, you get a sense of agency over the music you are listening to. Playing an instrument is empowering and it helps you express your emotions and even find a way to convey dark feelings and painful memories in a way that can relieve you from stress or sadness. Just as any other form of art, playing a song you know or improvising is like an escape valve for your emotions, and you get to be creative, which is always a good sign of recovery from hard times, both physical and mental.

Going to music lessons also has its own set of benefits. You engage in an activity that you enjoy and if you persist you can see your own progress, which will boost your self-esteem and self-assurance. Having a constructive routine and an organized class schedule is great for the feeling of advancement and discipline. 

Learning to play an instrument is a great lesson about perseverance, effort and reward. You can create something beautiful with your instrument, that you and others can enjoy. You would be surprised to realize how many life skills you can acquire by learning to play any instrument, any music genre. You learn by experience that you can do things, even if they are difficult or complicated, if you put yourself into it. Those nice notes that you have once heard from a record, now you are producing them yourself. These great feelings can boost your wellness and serve a greater purpose in your life.

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