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5 Ways That Learning Music Can Improve Your Mental Health

 by Autumn Huerter

A happy young woman playing guitar

May is a month that brings about many things, including Mother’s Day, graduations, and of course, the onslaught of warmer weather. However, did you know that May is actually National Mental Health Awareness Month? Over the past few years, we have seen a great significance put on mental health awareness and breaking the stigma surrounding conditions such as depression and anxiety. And as research has shown, one of the best tools to help with mental health concerns is actually music!

Music has significance across all cultures and walks of life. It can connect people at holidays, celebrations, and concerts. Not only that, but it has been scientifically proven time and time again that it can improve mood, boost serotonin levels, reduce stress and anxiety levels, and even play a role in elevated cognitive performance.

Don’t just listen to music, though: experience it! Playing a musical instrument and taking music lessons in Kansas City is a sure fire way to improve your overall mental health. Keep reading to learn more!

1.) Reduces Stress and Anxiety

It is no secret that Americans are stressed. Stress can easily snowball into anxiety, creating a vicious cycle that is extremely hard to break. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety is the leading cause of mental illness in the United States. Anxiety and stress can compound and negatively impact our health, leading to heart conditions, stomach ulcers, digestive issues, hair loss, and so much more.

We do have good news, however: playing an instrument can actually help! When you are playing music, whether it be a piano, guitar, drums, or even singing, it requires all of your attention and focus. This allows you to enter a state of mindfulness, setting aside the stress from the day to really apply yourself to the task at hand. It is a hobby that can quickly turn into an escape from any negativity.

2.) Creates an Outlet

For those who live with a mental health condition, it can be especially important to find an outlet. Walking around harboring feelings such as depression and anxiety can be detrimental. Many experts suggest finding a hobby or activity to channel some of these feelings. While this can look different for everyone, it’s important to find the best fit for you. This could include working out, starting a garden, or yes, even learning an instrument.

Music is unique, as there are so many different genres and styles to choose from, as well as a multitude of instruments you could learn. Start off by learning sheet music or covering songs from your favorite artists. Then transition into writing your own music that truly expresses how you are feeling and what you are going through! You may be surprised at how many other people can relate.

3.) Improves Memory

Have you ever noticed that when you’re stressed or anxious, you can’t seem to remember much? It can be difficult to recall where you left your car keys or your wallet and you may even fail to remember a doctor's appointment or miss deadlines at work. These types of incidents can compound stress and make things worse. However, learning to play a musical instrument can actually help!

When we go to the gym and workout, we’re training our bodies to become physically stronger. Learning to play music can act as a brain workout, helping you to grow mentally stronger. One of the best things about music is that it actually engages both sides of the brain. The left brain helps with logical tasks while the right side enables creativity. Using both at the same time can dramatically improve memory retention and recall, which is why music therapy is highly recommended for Alzheimer’s patients. 

4.) Teaches Patience

With the fast-paced world we live in, it’s no wonder so many struggle with the idea of patience. Instant gratification is quite literally at our fingertips in the form of smartphones and other technological devices. We can have any item shipped to our door in less than 24 hours, order ahead to our favorite restaurant with a push of a button, and find the answer to just about any question with a quick web search. While these are good things, it can be difficult to remember that patience is indeed a virtue. 

Learning an instrument forces us to slow down and take things day by day. One of the first things you will learn while taking music lessons in Kansas City is the concept that it’s best to eat an elephant one bite at a time. Or, in other words, it takes time to learn something new and even longer to master it. Each note, each chord, each segment, each song will add up to create a great sense of musicality and understanding of your instrument. Take a deep breath, buckle in, and be patient with yourself!

A group of happy teens play together in a band

5.) Builds Connections and Socialization

When someone has a mental health condition, they have a greater tendency to isolate and separate themselves from friends and family. This is extremely dangerous and can only worsen the negative feelings they are already encountering. Humans are social creatures at our root and we naturally rely on others and building relationships as a means to connect and be happy. 

Music has the ability to bring people together. Think back to every party, social event, or even family cookout you have ever attended. There was undoubtedly a live band or at least some sort of stereo playing the best jams. Music is something that is best experienced together, and that includes making music!

Here at Music House, we put a lot of value in collaborating with peers and pros alike. Not only is there a lot to learn from each other, but making friends and connecting with the people around you adds to the musical experience as well. When you sign up for music lessons in Kansas City, you are getting so much more than one on one instruction. You can also sign up to jam with the pros, join a band workshop, and even perform in an auditorium when you’re ready!

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If you’ve been considering learning an instrument or becoming more involved with music, contact us today! It will be a great investment for yourself as well as your mental health. Whichever instrument you’re eager to learn, our team here at Music House is ready to help you get started!

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Written by Autumn Huerter
Autumn Huerter
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