BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|
What would we be without music? This art has accompanied us since we lived in caves: When we are happy, when we share with others, maybe when we feel lonely, when we celebrate, when we want to create, focus, etc. This activity has motivated some people to play an instrument, which brings multiple benefits to their mental health.
According to the National Institutes of Health,  “learning to play a musical instrument provides a peaceful retreat from the pressures of daily life. Therapeutic outcomes of playing music include better communications skills, improved emotional release, and decreased anxiety and agitation. Musical training promotes cognitive function, mental health, and a connection to others”.
Drums, violin, bass, trumpet, flute, etc., help your emotional wellbeing, writes Curtis Dean in the Painted Brain Blog  : “Playing a musical instrument develops better self-awareness, combating cognitive decline and dementia, musical training strengthens the brain’s memory function, helps keep the mind sharp, musical expression helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and improves grey matter.”
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” – Plato.
Now, according to the Sloan School of Music , there are five ways learning an instrument can improve your mental health:
- It reduces stress and anxiety: “Learning to play an instrument requires all your concentration, which naturally creates a state of mindfulness and gives you a sense of calm. That calming sensation helps shift negative thoughts and energy into something more positive, in turn alleviating stress”.
- Learning music combats depression: “Just listening to music can instantly elevate your mood, as it boost the brain’s production of dopamine –the “happy hormone”- and lowers the “stress hormone” cortisol. Evidence shows these benefits are further increased because playing music is more immersive than listening to it”.
- It improves memory function: “Learning an instrument is a particularly unique skill because it requires both sides of the brain. The left side controls logic-based task, while the right side performs more creative task. Using both simultaneously dramatically strengthens memory retention and recall, making music therapy a common treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.”
- Learning to play music teaches patience: “We’ve all heard of music greats like Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin, but the reality is that very few people in the world can simply pick up an instrument and play flawlessly. Practice really does make perfect, and the more effort and time you put into learning an instrument, the better your results.”
- Learning a musical instrument increases mental sharpness: “Ongoing musical training enhances the brain’s multisensory processes and notably decreases reaction time to multi-sensory stimulation  .”
It was well said by Friedrich Nietzsche: “in music the passions enjoy themselves  ”, that is why we invite you to learn an instrument, remember that is never too late to do so, and then, you will not only be able to listen to your favorite music but also perform it to raise your emotional wellbeing much higher.