As the UK celebrates Mental Health Awareness Week, we look at some of the many emotional benefits of playing a musical instrument.
Playing a musical instrument enables you to express and understand your feelings, as well as providing an outlet for emotions that can be difficult to express or control.
This on its own can help emotional health, but there are also lots of other areas in which playing a musical instrument can positively affect wellbeing and mental health.
Will playing an instrument confidence?
Confidence is an action associated with positive emotions. By relishing the emotional benefits of music, confidence can be built!
Confidence can be built in many different ways through music, with the knowledge that you are mastering a new skill. The great thing about learning to play a musical instrument is that with most instruments you will see some results pretty quickly, which encourages you to keep going and see what else you can do!
Progressing from learning your first note, to then your first tune and on to your first performance increases confidence which goes hand in hand with growing confidence to try new things.
Will I feel a sense of achievement?
Just playing an instrument for a short time can bring great joy. Without even being adept at playing, making a loud or joyful noise is huge fun! Once you have developed a little further into your musical journey, achieving the goal of a new note, piece or performance gives a new musician something to feel proud of; and you will begin to notice the emotional benefits of music.
Does music help develop social skills?
Playing a musical instrument gives you many opportunities to meet new people; whether it be through joining a local band, a small ensemble or attending concerts in your community.
Improving social skills, boosting emotional intelligence, communication, time management and the ability to work as part of team.
Can music help reduce stress?
In the same way that listening to loud music can make you feel more energised, listening to music can be an effective way to help with stress. Studies have shown that after being exposed to stressful triggers, by listening to music we tend to recover more quickly as it can help the body’s human stress response – particularly with our autonomic nervous system (the system that regulates a variety of body process that takes place without conscious effort).
Listening to music can help manage our stress responses, and playing music can promote relaxation of tense muscles, enabling us to release some of the tension we might carry without realising. When you relax your muscles and loosen your body, the mind also relaxes. Music is a simple and fun way help that tension disappear.
Read BBC Radio 6 Music’s article 6 things music can do for your mind
Read more about the Benefits of Music here.
Music is a powerful contributor to young people's wellbeing - youthmusic.org
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