According to an article written by Nina Kraus, one of the more prominent scientists as well as directors at the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory in Northwestern, learning to play a musical instrument has several positive effects on the social cognitive growth of children. The main benefit seen is improved academic proficiency as a result of an improvement in cognitive areas such as literacy, neural processing, as well as an overall enhancement of the nervous system.
When one creates music in an active manner as with playing an instrument, the nerves in the brain rewire themselves to recognise and process different tones and sounds that were not heard before. This constant alertness extends to the classroom and these children pay more attention and learn better.
Listed below are a few benefits of learning a musical instrument, not just for children, but for any individual-
- Sharpens concentration and teaches perseverance- learning any instrument requires constant practice and hard work. Additionally, to learn music, one must focus attention throughout the learning process. This therefore leads to improved concentration. The will to learn the instrument pushes one to keep working hard and therefore builds up perseverance. This in turn leads to character development.
- It improves the learning of non-verbal communication as well as body coordination- learning any instrument requires a certain amount of coordination between hand and eye. When an instrument is learnt to be played as part of a band or orchestra, the individual also learns to coordinate body movements with other members of the musical group. This learning eventually extends to their behaviour and practices in daily interactions because they develop a certain sensitivity that allows them to observe and process non-verbal communication faster.
- It improves creativity- when an individual starts learning different music pieces, he/she may start composing their own music or maybe even simply altering the way they play what they learn. Whichever it is, creativity increases and improves with more practice
- Helps develop confidence and portray a calm, firm composure in front of an audience- learning an instrument entails some sort of performance in front of an audience. Whether the group is familiar or unfamiliar, it takes courage to perform in front of others. Playing an instrument in front of the audience can help individuals overcome stage fright and perform with a calm composure.
- Opens up new creative and social avenues- musicians bond with each other and learn from each other. Constant interactions with other musicians as you are learning an instrument hones your creativity as well as introduces you to a whole new social group. Irrespective of whether you are learning to play professionally or for fun, you will certainly learn and enjoy a lot with a social group full of like-minded people.
- It is a skill, and an impressive one! – learning a musical instrument is not an easy task. In addition to being loads of fun, it is also a great skill to have and is quite impressive to those around you.