How Playing an Instrument Can Give You an Edge

Megan Suitts on Dec 9, 2014 8:00:00 AM

benefits of playing an instrument

Having skill playing an instrument goes beyond simply having a great way to impress your friends. Believe it or not, learning how to play an instrument can actually give you an edge in life. These benefits extend to both your professional and personal life as well. Let's take a look at how learning how to play an instrument can help make you better.

What are the benefits of playing an instrument?

There are many benefits of playing an instrument, including the following:

It will improve your memory

Have you ever walked into the next room and completely forgotten what you were doing? Have you ever benefits of playing an instrumenthad difficulty memorizing important facts about a case, product, or client? If so, don't feel bad, because these are common problems that many of us suffer. Training with a musical instrument, however, can significantly reduce the likelihood of these types of things happening.

This is due to the fact that as Dr. Nina Kraus of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University noted during an interview with ABC, developing your skills with a musical instrument is all about "how quickly you can process information and how well you remember it." In other words, it forces you to learn how to remember and regurgitate new information quickly and completely.

It will help you hear better

It may seem counterintuitive that something like a musical instrument, which can be very loud, would somehow help your ability to hear, but this nonetheless remains one of the benefits of playing an instrument.

In her interview with ABC, Dr. Kraus noted that when you are playing in an orchestra or harmony, you are pulling sounds from multiple places to keep your own instrument in tune. As a result, "You are always pulling out meaningful components from the sound." This teaches you how to isolate sounds in noisy areas, thereby allowing you to block out the background noise and hear what you want to listen to better.

It will enhance your ability to organize

Every single year, poor time management and organization costs companies millions of dollars. Despite this fact, these are two skills that many of us struggle with every single day. That is why gaining better organizational skills is one of the best benefits of playing an instrument.

As you develop your skill with an instrument, you invariably develop a better perception of how to make quality use of your time, because you naturally want to make your practicing time as efficient as possible.

It will improve your coordination

A lack of physical coordination can be annoying at best (an embarrassing trip and fall or spilling a glass of juice), and hazardous at worst (dropping and breaking a prized possession or a hazardous trip and fall). Although these types of things can happen to anyone, even professional athletes, whose coordination is second to none due to the jobs that they do, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of having a clumsy moment by learning how to play a musical instrument.

This is due to the fact that playing an instrument requires you to harmoniously coordinate your hand, eyes, and sometimes even your mouth. As a much more complex physical task than what you would normally face in your daily life, it makes simple tasks even easier than before.

It will develop your team-building skills

Teamwork is essential to many elements of your personal and professional life. Sometimes, however, it can be a struggle to create a productive team environment. This is another area in which the benefits of playing an instrument can help. 

When you are playing a musical instrument in harmony with someone else or in an orchestra, all participants must be perfectly in tune with everyone else's actions. Otherwise, you end up with a cacophony of garbled nonsense -- no matter how great anyone sounds individually. As a result, you learn how to better cooperate with people for the sake of your goals.

It gives you an opportunity to learn new things

Learning about diverse cultures expands your horizons, makes you a better conversationalist, and makes you feel great about your newfound knowledge. One of the benefits of playing an instrument is that it is a natural way to learn about different cultures.

Due to its very nature, music is steeped in the cultural histories of the world. Most musical instruments fit comfortably into multiple genres; every genre that you play in exposes you to multiple global cultural histories. For example, opera music is tied directly to several unique European cultures, including Italy and Spain.

It is a great stress relieverbenefits of playing an instrument

Sometimes you just need an outlet to relieve yourself from the stresses of everyday life. Playing an instrument is great for this.

As you develop your skill with your instrument, you will be able to play how you want. This allows you to transform your musical instrument from solely being a tool for skill development and into a creative outlet as well.

It will make you more social

If you are an introvert, then playing a musical instrument is something that you should definitely try.

Playing a musical instrument will involve classes, partners, and orchestras wherein you will have the opportunity to engage with diverse groups of people. This benefit allows you to develop your social skills and make you more comfortable around people.

Is it too late for me to get started with a new instrument?

Absolutely not. There are many reasons why you can start learning how to play an instrument right now.

Playing an instrument is a skill

Unlike singing, which requires some talent to be great at, playing a musical instrument only requires that you develop a skill. As a result, the fact that you can learn how to play at any stage in your life is one of the greatest benefits of playing an instrument.

You already understand music more than you think

Having listened to music for your whole entire life, you have an innate understanding of it that will help you learn how to play an instrument. This capability is even more powerful than you might think. Think about all of the songs that you have sung along with, hummed to, or even nodded your head to. This all plays into your ability to more easily learn how to play an instrument.

You aren't being forced to play an instrument

When people think of those who are immensely skilled at playing a musical instrument, the stereotypical child prodigy comes to mind. However, even if these prodigies discover a true interest in their instruments, they are usually being made to play by their parents (with good reason, as they receive all of the benefits discussed above -- but this doesn't take away the fact that playing an instrument can be like eating one's green for some children).

As an adult, however, you will be approaching your instrument wholeheartedly. This will help you develop your skill at a much faster pace than you probably imagined.

Finding a musical instrument to play is something that everyone should do

On top of all of the benefits discussed above, playing musical instruments is just fun. Don't hesitate to try a few different ones out.


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