Arts and Entertainment

Benefits of Learning Music


Not All Benefits Are Measurable

Research on the benefits of music education tends to focus on those that can be documented. But musicians and teachers have seen many benefits of studying music that are not so easily quantified.

Improved Discipline

More than almost any other endeavor, music teaches you the importance of discipline. Over the years, it has become rare to get a flash of inspiration in the training room. That means having the discipline to make time to exercise every day and sticking to it—no matter how you feel when the time comes.

Focus On The Long Term

An almost inevitable consequence of learning an instrument is learning to take a long-term view. If your progress on an instrument is measured in years of learning or thousands of hours of practice, it doesn’t seem very reasonable to worry about what will happen in the short term. Even deeply depressing experiences tend to be transformed by this long-term perspective.

It turns out I’m terrible at it, I still can’t play it well, but I bet in a few years. While it may seem a little overwhelming when you’re just starting to learn, it can actually be empowering to realize that there’s no obstacle in front of you that can withstand years of sustained effort. And because only a few large works are done in a short period of time, students who discover this trait will have a better chance of succeeding in all areas of life.

Anchor Yourself In Self-Esteem

Through injury and illness, overwork or unemployment, stress or sadness, taking the time to return to music sends a strong signal down your spine: you are a person of commitment. These things will shake you, but not defeat you. Perhaps this is why the musicians on the Titanic continued to play in opposition to the sinking ship.

Reduce Stress

There is a link between practicing music and reducing stress, meaning that those who learn music may have better resilience in the face of adversity. There is growing evidence that listening to music can help lower blood pressure. Stress is a terrifying force that can affect anyone at any time.

It destroys careers and families and shortens life spans. Some people are lucky to have a “stress vaccine” and many don’t realize that their music practice, walk in the park, favorite pet or time with their family provides them with protection against the effects of stress. The music can be yours.

Improves Brain Performance

One of the most supportive benefits of learning music is improving brain function. For young students, there is a link between studying music and better learning,  with possible psychological benefits well into retirement.  Other parts of the study focused on a possible link between studying music and higher IQ and stronger memory.

Although the benefits vary by age group and accumulated experience, it seems reasonable to conclude that studying music has the power to change people’s thinking. Awareness of this is growing due to the number of articles in the media describing the benefits of music practice.


The fact that middle-aged adults can easily pick up a new instrument and learn to play it is a clear example of neuroplasticity, the idea that the living brain can change or develop and acquire new abilities at all stages of life. Forty-year-old Gary Marcus wrote a fascinating account of his journey in the book Error. Link not found..

Other Unconfirmed Benefits

Taking lessons or studying music on your own will give you more reason to believe that studying music has many potential benefits that are not yet fully understood. When you talk to people who have been playing music for 10 years or more, you will hear many personal stories from musicians about the transformative effect music has on their minds, bodies and lives in general.

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