They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, right? Well, we’ve come to find out, that may not be entirely true. When it comes to learning how to play a musical instrument, it really is a possibility at any age. In fact, some traumatic brain injury patients are encouraged to learn how to play an instrument. It seems the entire brain and many of its functions are all engaged at the same time while learning to play music. Music therapy is quickly rising to the top in rehabilitation efforts for many different brain injuries.
Amazing Overall Benefits of learning a musical instrument
There is no age limit for the person receiving instrument lessons. One of the biggest benefits is the amazing amount of coordination that one acquires as a direct result. When learning any stringed instrument, one must create the chords with one hand while strumming or picking with the other. This can take time to learn, but is a benefit that can be useful in many different areas of life.
While this coordination is taking place, so is the concentration level. Patience is a virtue that gets better with practice and continues to become increasingly more useful. Concentration is necessary for so many life functions. We may not even really give it a second thought. In many cases, it comes as naturally as breathing. For others, it can be a problem that even leads to less successful jobs and relationships. When learning a musical instrument, it becomes increasingly a part of the student and can be dramatically transforming.
Music lessons for children
For children, taking music lessons can set a groundwork that will create a phenomenal mindset of learning throughout life. As concentration and coordination are practiced and made a part of everyday life, the mind begins to see the very act of learning itself as something positive, something exciting and something worth their time and effort. Studies have shown that learning a musical instrument can increase math performance. Gray matter is denser in certain areas of the brain depending on which instrument is actually played.
Amazingly, for adults, all these benefits can be exactly the same. Which goes to show, you really CAN teach an old dog, or person, new tricks! Older people that decide to learn an instrument can see a dramatic increase of joy, self-fulfillment, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment and well-being.
Music, as a Friend and Counselor
Those who play a musical instrument will tell you it is an outlet to “let of steam” or “chase away the blues”. Their musical abilities are a means to channel their emotions for more years than we might dare to count. Why is that?
One might say it is the ability to play or compose soft, ambient melodies during times of calm and peace, or unleash a frenzy of playing styles if a person is upset or angry. Some counseling services use music as a means of emotional release, citing the fact that it is so readily available, anyone can access it. However, whether going with your gut feeling or scientific data, music evokes a very emotional experience. It can even give you “goosebumps”. Perhaps music has brought a tear to your eye or made you smile in remembrance of great past times.
After forming such an emotional bond with a musical instrument, you’re likely to find that it turns into a kind of old friend. In fact, some musicians go so far as to name their instruments. Renowned blues man, B.B. King had his “Lucille”, while mega-popular blues and pop icon, Eric Clapton had “Blackie”, which recently fetched a few million dollars at an auction for charity. So if you learn to play an instrument, and it becomes very dear to you, by all means, give it a name!