When I was an inexperienced and confused fourth grader, it was natural for me to choose an instrument when we were presented with the opportunity to play in the school orchestra. Joining an ensemble at this age was an automatic decision, and nearly every kid chose to play one of the four string instruments that were offered to us. So following in my older sister’s footsteps, along with about 75% of my fourth grade class, I chose the violin. It was exciting at first, like it is for everyone; discovering the different pitches and tones an instrument can create is nothing short of magnificent. Everyone was in awe of the violin at this young age, but unfortunately this sense of amazement does not last for every student.
Music has never ceased to wow me, and I am so thankful this light hasn’t burned out. Whether you once played an instrument but quit, have yet to, or have never considered playing one, I hope that this article can persuade you to toy around or keep with an instrument. You may discover that music is not for you, but you could potentially unlock a true passion. The benefits will be tremendous.
Music is music, and I’m sure you’ve experienced its wonders in one way or another: be it messing around on iTunes, singing in the shower, or jamming out at a concert. Playing an instrument provides so much more nourishment than just listening to music. It can be a nerve-calmer, stress-reliever, or emotion-channeler— it serves all three of these purposes for me. When I am up late studying for an exam, stressed and nervous, music is the perfect break that calms me down and allows me to remain focused and at ease. Whether I am stressed or not, any emotions that I experience can be channeled into my music, which often even improves the quality of a piece. Be it anger, which is conveyed by passion, vibrancy and loudness, or sadness, portrayed in a quiet and tender song, personal emotions do add a unique touch to music while concurrently easing any tension or personal problems.
In addition to music’s benefits in coping with personal life, studies show that reading music works a different part of the brain that, when used, reaps enormous benefits. According to this article from the Help Guide, “memory, like muscle strength, requires you to ‘use it or lose it’”, and the more parts of the brain that are exercised, the more likely you will be to understand and retain information. Research published on LiveScience has also proven that there is a correlation between studying music and improved communications, specifically speech and foreign languages.
Like me, you may not choose the best-fitting instrument the first time around. Though I started on violin, two years later I switched to cello, and I could not be more pleased with the transition. Because of this, I advise you to avoid feeling discouraged if you pick an instrument and do not love it. Be it an orchestra or band instrument, there’s bound to be another one out there for you.
The final reason that I highly recommend experimenting with an instrument is purely for enjoyment. I genuinely love to play the cello—I love both the way it sounds and the way this sound affects me and others who listen to it. In addition to playing for personal enjoyment, there are so many ways to get involved further, whether it be taking private lessons, performing at a senior home, starting your own band, or advancing to a high level of achievement such as region and state ensembles. Music can take you so far and in so many different directions that it is worthwhile to give it a shot.
Ultimately, initially choosing to play an instrument turned out to be one of the greatest blessings in my life. Explore the different options that are available to you. Remember my motto when doing so: Without music, life would B-Flat (pun intended)!