Music Lessons: Not Just for Kids
There has been a lot written on why music lessons for children are highly beneficial. To see a small sample, browse this Parents.com article. It lays out some of the main benefits of music lessons. Make no mistake, music is great for brain development in children. It helps to connect all sort of dots in their little heads. Everything from hand-eye coordination, language development, and improved academics are demonstrable benefits from music lessons. Music is an amazing tool and while we all want our children to do well in school, be well rounded etc there should be an element of fun and accomplishment out of it.
However, tt is easy to forget that music is something that everyone can enjoy and that everyone can work on and learn. Music lessons also have a great benefits for adults as well. Over the course of my 12 plus years teaching I have taught ages 5 to 85. I have seen people in their mid-life stages make more progress than kids. It all depends upon motivation and enjoyment of the process. But, here is the key it is just as good a mental activity for adults to engage in music lessons as it is for youth. Here are just 4 great reasons to get started today on making music.
1. Good for Your Health
Music can act on the body in several ways that helps to improve your health. In one study the research demonstrated a significant drop in the stress hormone cortisol after listening to music for 30 minutes. If there is one thing we all could use, it is lowered stress levels.
Another study found making and playing music lowers blood pressure. Additonal studies indicate that it could also be a good means to help relieve pain. Music can also improve cardiovascular health, not just through regulating blood pressure but also through breathing. Getting more oxygen to your brain. Which brings me to point number 2.
2. Improves Brain Activity
Increased documentation shows that structural brain development in children increases with music study. There is now evidence to suggest that it can improve brain activity in adults and even help in the fight against alzheimer’s. This is due to how it causes the brain to interact with the body and itself.
Professional harpist Allison Berg, who is also completing a PhD in gerentology says, “What’s unique about playing an instrument is that it requires a wide array of brain regions and cognitive functions to work together simultaneously, in both right and left hemispheres of the brain.” This is important particularly as we age to keep both hemispheres of the brain active.
3. Encourages goal setting and habits
One of the best we things we can do for our mental and emotional health is setting little goals. Little achievable goals give a better sense of progress. Motivational speaker and author Tim Ferriss, says that setting a small daily goal is enough to just start building momentum towards bigger projects. As you build on each succeeding day you can see marked improvements in a shorter amount of time.
Whenever you begin to build a new habit, that translates into increased will power in other areas. Regular practice on an instrument helps to build discipline. Consequently, learning an instrument becomes an opportunity to grow in other areas too!
4. Enhances Creativity
This one should be obvious but it is worth repeating. Because the process of making music works across both sides of the brain regular music lessons can help to thinking differently. This is where creativity can excell. Creativity has all kinds of applications in and out of the arts. It is what helps us innovate at work and come up with solutions that are outside of the box.
While there is still more research being done on the effects of music on the body, these are just four reasons why starting lessons at any age can benefit your health. Whether you are beginning or continuing to learn an instrument the benefits for you are tremendous. I have seen it not just in my students but I know in myself. The more I can play my guitar I see all these benefits as well. It’s never too late to start and certainly never a better time than now to do it.