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Why Learning Music Is Important And How To Do It Cheap

Want to tickle the ivories, strum a few bars, or toot your own horn? Stop putting it off! Here's why you should study music and why it's important...

Sep 6, 2023
  • Education
  • Student Tips
Why Learning Music Is Important And How To Do It Cheap

Music is one of the most powerful things in the world. It's also one of those things we often relegate to the field of hobby, as opposed to something one learns. Learning music -- not just listening to it -- is a life skill. It improves your focus, sets you up for success, improves your patience, and makes you a better person.

Want to tickle the ivories, strum a few bars, or toot your own horn? Here's why you should and why it's important...

1. It can make you a better reader

There's a neuroscientific link between music and language acquisition. Think about it: when babies are born, we sing to them. They understand language as if it were music. They mimic rhythm and melody first, cadence and content after. Ever listen to a toddler? They talk as if they're singing.

Research conducted in 2014 at Northwestern University's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory suggests music helps children learn to read. Dr. Nina Kraus has done research demonstrating that learning music improves concentration, memory, and focus. In 2014, she found that giving children regular group music lessons for five or more hours per week prevented a decline in reading skills, regardless of family income level.

In a 2014 BBC article on her research, she said, "Research has shown that there are differences in the brains of children raised in impoverished environments that affect their ability to learn.

"While more affluent students do better in school than children from lower income backgrounds, we are finding that musical training can alter the nervous system to create a better learner and help offset this academic gap."

She explained, "Music automatically sharpens the nervous system's response to sounds."

2. It improves your health

How can music make you healthy? Well besides the natural desire to dance when you hear it, music has other health benefits. Research suggests that it lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, and prevents anxiety attacks. Some research even suggests that it can strengthen your immunological responses to disease!

Therapists have used music for a long time to promote memory and well-being in patients ranging in age from infants to older adults, with lots of success.

Do you want to live a healthier life? Get going on those music lessons! (See #4.)

3. It makes you more disciplined and patient

This goes for anything that takes time to learn, but it's especially true of music. When you work hard for something and get better over time, you commit yourself to doing better all the time. That gives you the skills and ability to be patient, to practice, to understand that you're not going to play at Carnegie Hall right off the bat. It takes work. But if you've commited to it, it's likely work that you love doing.

4. It's affordable!

You don't have to spend a fortune to make music, at least in the beginning. As you get better, you might decide to pay for private lessons, but you can get started on your own Here are a few tips:

1. Pick a popular instrument

It's a lot less expensive to learn to play the guitar or even the piano than it is to find a hurdy-gurdy or a didgeridoo. Find a used keyboard, get a used guitar, borrow a ukelele, try the harmonica. Pick something that you will be able to find easily, or something where you will have regular access to the instrument of your choice.

2. Look for video lessons online

YouTube is your friend. There are many free videos and lots of great music instructors have intro lessons and courses as a way to attract new students.

The video site offers a great opportunity to watch lots of videos, figure out what you are going to respond to best, rewatch the ones you really like, and see what clicks.

3. Try the used bookstore

Used bookstores are treasure chests full of music instruction books on the most common instruments. Get yourself a beginner book -- you don't need a brand new book to learn how to play an instrument that's hundreds of years old.

Since the books are so inexpensive, pick up a bunch of introductory books and see which ones you like best!

Remember: this is fun. Rock out. Sing with all your heart!