Tag Archives: creativity

6 reasons why you should learn to play an instrument

6 Reasons Why You Should Learn to Play a Musical Instrument

The following post was guest written by Liyana Perry of Sage Music School.

We’re all looking for ways to combat certain mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and many others, and medication doesn’t work for everyone. Meditation, yoga, and exercise are the most common alternative methods that people use to help themselves with these issues (as it was proven by multiple studies that these methods are very effective). However, things that most other people consider as hobbies can also help you out immensely. This is where playing a musical instrument comes into play!

And even if you’re not suffering from a health condition that we mentioned, playing a musical instrument still has a lot of positives. Keep in mind that you usually shouldn’t start playing an instrument by yourself (without following any tutorials or having a teacher by your side). Music lessons are highly recommended!

Now, let’s see why you should learn to play a musical instrument!

Improves Long-Term Memory

It’s a well-known platitude that practice makes perfect. But what does this actually mean? Well, if you want to play a musical instrument like a pro, you’ll have to practice constantly and not give up. This means that you’ll be improving your memory as well, since you’ll be memorizing the songs, chords, and other elements involved in learning to play music.

Most people take around a year or two to really get going with their instruments, but it all depends on motivation, type of instrument, instructional value, and a lot of other factors, so take this with a grain of salt.

Boosts Your Listening Skills

You might not have good listening skills if you’ve never played an instrument before, but you’ll develop them with time. For example, if you’re looking to play the guitar, try to tune it yourself, just through listening. Not so easy, right? If you get stuck, use a free online guitar tuner to check your work.

After some time, you’ll be able to notice the slight differences in pitch. The fact of the matter is that playing an instrument will boost your listening ability over time.

Sharpens Your Concentration

You won’t be able to become a great musician if you don’t concentrate on what you’re doing. Try to find the mistakes that you’re probably making (since you’re just starting out) and focus on improving them. Even the slightest improvement goes a long way in learning how to play instruments, so don’t ignore anything.

Even the way you hold the instrument could be wrong, so focus! Plus, you’ll sharpen your concentration by playing an instrument as well.

Improves Your Social Life

Everyone loves sitting around a bonfire at night with friends, singing songs, and playing musical instruments. It’s also a great way to make new friends since someone will surely approach you while you’re doing what you love. And, if you’re good at it (which you’ll surely be with enough practice), you’ll be approached by even more people. In any case, your social life will thrive because of this!

Can Help With Depression and Anxiety

Working out and meditating are great for mental health, but playing an instrument can be even more effective for some people. Not only is it a great outlet for self-expression and catharsis, but it actually helps release dopamine.

Develop your Own Creativity

Adding to the previous point, you’ll improve your creativity by playing instruments. Start off by practicing playing some well-known songs that are easy to play. Once you master the easy ones, you might even start writing (and playing) your own songs. Everything that you play has a positive effect on your creativity, so when you’re feeling confident about playing, give it everything you’ve got!

Additionally, keep following tutorials for as long as you can and keep an eye open for the smallest of details – they’re usually the most helpful when it comes to playing a musical instrument.

Author bio: Liyana Perry writes on behalf of Sage Music School where they base lessons on the science and research of the psychology of learning. Their effective teaching methods create confident and capable students who enjoy the happiness of making music.

Sing Through Songs at a Voice Lesson

Why You Should Just Sing Through Songs in Voice Lessons Sometimes

As voice teachers or vocal coaches, we often feel pressure to show our students how much we know, nitpicking a song that already sounds phenomenal so that we can be relevant. Don’t get me wrong. I think there’s a time and place for this. No reason a song that already sounds phenomenal can’t sound even more phenomenal, right? But sometimes it’s important for students to have the freedom to just sing through songs in voice lessons without being stopped every 3 seconds. If you’re a voice teacher, don’t be afraid to just let your student sing sometimes. There are plenty of pedagogically sound reasons for this approach. As a student, don’t feel like it’s a waste of your time to go to a voice lesson where you aren’t constantly corrected. Here’s the rationale.

It Fosters Creativity

Some vocal students, especially ones who can accompany themselves, may have plenty of time to be creative at home. But others need a more structured time for creativity. For some students, their voice lesson is where they take the time to explore new things: new opportunities for vocal improv on songs they can already sing easily and new ways to color their tones (breathy, belt, etc.) Since there are so many ways to stylize a song, it’s not always ideal to have a teacher dictate every last vocal decision, and sometimes just running a song multiple times can give you ideas. Not to mention that a vocal coach can be a great sounding board for questions and advice once the song is over.

It Fosters Independence

If you run through a song and miss some of the notes, it may be because you need someone to give you a bunch of advice and help you out. Or it might be because you know you weren’t getting enough air at that one part, already know that, and just need to try it a few times to make it work. I have students who can run a song, know exactly where and why they messed up and ask to go over that part a few more times so they can try different approaches. When they eventually get it, we discuss what it is they did to accomplish their goal, and it ends up sticking with them so they can apply the technique to other songs. Look, I’m not saying that a voice teacher can’t ignite those discussions as well as she helps the student make adjustments, but it’s not a terrible thing to sometimes let the student be the guide when it comes to figuring out corrections.

It Reminds Us Why We Love to Sing

It may feel like the least important reason on this list, but it should probably be hovering around the top. Getting to sing through songs at lessons without stopping and agonizing over every aspect of them reminds us why we love to sing. It’s liberating and cathartic; we can try new things; we can immerse ourselves in the experience. A voice lesson can be a safe, private place to do just that.

Trust me, as a voice teacher and coach, I love helping a student take a song apart. I’m a complete vocal nerd and love getting the chance to share all that knowledge I’ve spent years accumulating with my students. But occasionally, I’m reminded just how important it is to give students a little freedom to direct the course of their lesson–playing with their own improv, jumping from song to song to test how far their voice has come in the last few years, or just enjoying a moment of unhindered singing. After all, isn’t that the point of all this?