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The benefits of music learning: 7 things that happen when you play

Published 8th April 2019
Depending on your instrument, you might need delicate finger movements or refined breath control or a high level of co-ordination, for example between feet, hands, eyes and breath. All of these call for highly developed motor control.
When you play an instrument you combine many different kinds of mental activity with a physical activity – music making combines doing with thinking, knowing and understanding.
One special aspect of music making is the way a musician has to show their understanding through physical actions. In a performance, you’re drawing on your inner knowledge and understanding, and using it to inform your music making and focus your musical communication.
Making music, rather than just listening to it, provides opportunities for outward expression of feelings and emotions. Having this outlet can be important for everyone, but can become particularly valuable for those who feel uneasy about expressing themselves in other ways.
Making music fosters creativity and imagination and provides ways to turn original ideas into reality.
Learning how to give a musical performance has a positive effect on personal confidence. Many of the skills you need when playing to others are the same ones you use when presenting yourself and communicating in other situations, such as interviews, discussions and meetings, and speaking in public. Self-belief, and the inner confidence that can bring, is a fundamental benefit of making progress on a musical instrument.
An essential part of being a musician, especially when making music with others, is the ability to listen, to assess situations and respond, and to be sensitive to what other people are doing. As you develop your musical and ensemble skills, you’re also building skills in perception, personal awareness and emotional intelligence.
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