Our final post in our #WednesdayWisdom series on how Music is Good for You is about self esteem.
Unsurprisingly the mental-health gains from musical mastery, together with the camaraderie of playing with others, transfers into greater feelings of self-worth.
A recent study of children who received three years of weekly piano lessons showed that they scored higher on a measure of self-esteem than those who got no musical instruction. Another study found that at-risk children who participated in a music-performance group at school felt less alienated and more successful.
Taking all things into consideration the biggest question is why wouldn’t you play music?
Our penultimate post in our #WednesdayWisdom series on how music is good for you is that music elevates mental health
Studies have shown that musicians are more focused and less prone to aggression, depression, and anger than non-musicians. In fact, creating music seems to prime their brains for heightened emotional control and concentration.
In one study, researchers examined brain scans of children aged 6 to 18. Those who played an instrument had a thicker brain cortex in regions that regulate emotions, anxiety levels, and the capacity to pay attention (meaning they had superior abilities in these areas).
Other studies confirm what most of us know instinctively, that music also relieves stress. In other words, musicians may suffer from fewer stress-related psychological and physical symptoms, including burnout, headaches, high blood pressure, and lower immune function.
Why not get your instrument out the next time you’re feeling stressed after a hard day at work and try it for yourself?
From the science and maths of last week’s #WednesdayWisdom post in our series Music is Good for You to something a little more obvious:
Part 8 – Music improves motor skills
Anyone who has attempted to play an instrument will recognise that playing requires excellent hand coordination, not to mention hand-eye-ear coordination; just look at those orchestra musicians who turn up and play music whilst sight reading.
For those musician who start young enough, those heightened musical motor skills seem to translate into other areas of life as well. Researchers in Canada found that adult musicians who started playing before age 7 had better timing on a non-music motor-skill task than those who started music lessons later. What’s more, their superior motor abilities actually showed up in their brains. Scans revealed stronger neural connections in motor regions that help with imagining and carrying out physical movements.
Yet another reason to start playing at a young age…