Learning to Play an Instrument

Why It Should Become Your Forte


When most people consider doing extracurricular activities, many forget that learning how to play an instrument is an option. I chose to learn how to play the oboe during the summer before sixth grade, and ever since I have told everyone that learning how to play an instrument was the best decision I’ve ever made. Even though it isn’t easy and takes a high level of dedication, learning how to play an instrument can be extremely beneficial in many ways.

Examples of Benefits

Academic Benefits

According to many sources, music is the only activity that utilizes every single part of your brain! In doing so, music can help better your mathematical ability increase your reading and comprehension skills through learning to read sheet music. Many studies have shown that learning how to play a musical instrument can also increase your IQ by up to 7 points, no matter the age of the musician. Even elderly people who practiced an isntrument an hour a week experienced strong positive changes in their brains. Playing an instrument has also been proven to boost memory capability, All of these can help increase a student's academic performance.
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An infographic explaining ways in which musical instruments can help the brain.

Other Life Skills

Two other very important life skills that playing an instrument can teach you is time management, and even more importantly, responsibility. Anyone who plays an instrument can tell you how important it is to plan time to practice your instrument; but, it is even more important to use your practice time efficiently. As a musician, I can tell you that when it comes to practicing, the quality of your practice is infinitely more important than the quantity in which you practice. Through playing an instrument, people can also learn responsibility. In order to keep an instrument in playing condition, students must learn how to correctly clean the instrument and how to store it properly, in addition to remembering other things such as playing test dates, group rehearsals, and performances.

Relieves Stress

No matter your level of musical proficiency, if you need to relieve stress, playing an instrument can help you. Whether you're a professional or if you play by ear, music can help relieve your daily stress. When practicing an instrument, all of your focus is centered on playing, which can help you let go of whatever is stressing you out. This is caused through the hormone cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Studies have shown that cortisol levels lowered more quickly for people who listened to or played music verses those who didn't.

Other Opportunities

One of the best parts of learning how to play an instrument is all of the opportunities it can open up for you. If you are able to play an instrument, you can join a variety of bands, like school concert bands, community bands, jazz bands, or marching bands. Through this, you can also make new friends and help your team building skills. Learning to play an instrument is also a lot of fun and can give you a sense of achievement. If you love it enough, you could even end up pursuing a career in music.
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An example of things you can do when you play an instrument; this is the Ohio State's marching band forming a dinosaur on the field
Nutcracker/Carol of the Bells for Sax Choir
Another example of what you can do when you play an instrument; This is a video of a student-led ensemble that I was in for my high schools annual holiday concert.