It’s often said that music can soothe the soul. Simply listening to music has many benefits, but learning to play an instrument can be even more beneficial. Playing a musical instrument is a brilliant way to express yourself and really focus on something you love. It requires patience, perseverance and dedication. Regardless of whether we become talented musicians or not, learning to play an instrument can help you in many wonderful and surprising ways. In this post we explore some of the main benefits of learning to play an instrument, with some very generous input from the kind folk at Nordoff Robbins. Builds confidence Learning to play an instrument can gradually improve your confidence. As you become more skilled and playing becomes more natural, your confidence grows. Learning a new skill and noticing your success makes you feel more confident, and this can filter through to all aspects of your life. Teaches you a valuable skill Being able to play an instrument is a useful skill, and it makes you a more well-rounded person. Even if you don’t end up performing, you can continue playing purely just for passion. It’s an interesting skill to talk about and you never know when it might prove useful. Sharpens your concentration Learning to play an instrument can do wonders for your concentration skills. Researchers at the University of St Andrews said their findings show that musicians were quicker to pick up mistakes and correct them. Playing an instrument requires deep focus and concentration, as it’s quite easy to make a mistake. You have to focus on quite a few things at once. By having regular lessons and playing on your own, you will improve your concentration skills. For example, children who learn to play an instrument often find it easier to concentrate in school. Increases memory capacity Did you know that learning to play an instrument increases your memory capacity? There’s plenty of research proving that this is the case. The Times reported that ‘new research suggests that regularly learning to play an instrument changes the shape and power of the brain.’ RELATED 10 European Airlines and Their Instrument Policies Aids children’s development Learning to play an instrument can have a massive impact on a child’s development, both academically, and of course from a confidence perspective. Playing an instrument and reading music requires you to utilise a wide variety of skills, all of which are beneficial to your development and mental capacity. It keeps your mind sharp as you grow older According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, playing an instrument as a child keeps the mind sharper as we age. It can help to prevent dementia, and according to the Emory University School of Medicine, ‘Since studying an instrument requires years of practice and learning, it may create alternate connections in the brain that could compensate for cognitive declines as we get older.’ It’s good for your mental health Listening to music can aid concentration and ease stress and anxiety. Playing a musical instrument regularly can also help to reduce your stress levels by lowering your blood pressure and heart rate. It’s highly therapeutic and relaxing, and as soon as you start to play you feel the benefits instantly. Improves your time management If you learn to play an instrument, you have to learn how to manage your time. You will need to practice regularly and learn music in times for exams. You also have to schedule in lessons and juggle this with other parts of your life. Improves your maths and literacy Learning music requires you to use both your literacy and maths skills, which is why it can really help to aid children in their academics. Research has shown that kids who play a musical instrument excel more at school, and it can also help adults improve their maths and literacy skills too. Gives you an insight into other cultures When you play an instrument, you will mostly likely learn how to play different types of music. This enables you to play music from other cultures, and discover how music plays a big part in specific cultures. It’s useful to learn about unfamiliar cultures, and music can be a wonderful way of doing this.