5 Music Skills With Their Mental Health Benefits
If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see life in terms of music.”
- Albert Einstein
Einstein may hardly be an authority in music, but we certainly can’t ignore the genius of his contributions in the world of physics. His appreciation for music puts things in perspective. As such, it is possible that there is a mental health tangent to music that inspires genius. Oh what a brilliant musician would he have made!
Keeping our wishful thinking aside, let’s zoom in on why the Father of Modern Physics (and great minds like him) swear by music and its positive effects on mental health.
Skills You Gain From Learning Music
It may seem like learning how to play a musical instrument only develops technical skills in music. But if you really listen, you will also gain transferable music skills in the process. What are these transferable music skills?
Transferable music skills are your take back from music. These sets of abilities and skillsets can be easily “transferred” and used in other spheres of life.
Such is the power of music - it relaxes and rewards.
If you are willing to tap its recurring benefits, these 5 skills learned from music will help you upskill:
1. Nurtures Creativity
Music is the ultimate melodious outlet of emotions and ideas, utilizing pitch, tempo, duration, texture, structure, dynamics, and timbre. A good blend of these seven elements of music come together to compose the most soothing tunes. This composition comes from a place of creativity and out of the box thinking.
Therefore, learning how to play a musical instrument builds and shapes your creative mindset to produce something original and unique.
2. Develops a Problem-solving Attitude
All musicians are great problem solvers. A problem-solving attitude is the biggest benefit of a creative mindset. Musicianship greatly evolves a problem-solving attitude as you seamlessly compose, find new angles and tunes to create the best from available resources.
3. Builds Collaboration and Harmony
While learning music, you automatically gain collaboration skills. These skills facilitate all musicians to weave their thoughts/emotions into tunes and produce the same tune or melody with a musical instrument. Therefore, with music, you learn to fall in sync in the grand scheme of things (melody in this context) and communicate thoughts with fellow musicians easily.
4. Increases Focus
A commendable ability to focus on is the biggest transferable music skill. An increased focus is super practical and contributes to other life activities. This is the fundamental life skill learned from music. This increased focus aids to improve mental health and allows you to be more productive.
Students worldwide listen to lo-fi (low fidelity) music to increase their focus when studying to increase their focus and concentration.
5. Assists In Time Management
We are all governed by a ticking clock. In such a scenario, time management is the key to smash your goals. While some of us are natural at managing time, others can take help by learning music.
Take a peek into the life of a music student at a university or a local musician. You will find them swamped with classes, dates, rehearsals, schedules, events, practise/jam sessions and whatnot. Handling all this is a valuable lesson in time management.
Apart from this hustle, you can gather a great deal about time management skills when you begin to learn music. The responsibility that comes with creating a schedule, constant training, improvement and self-assessment will help chalk out a healthy learning curve.
You can seamlessly upskill in life with these five major transferable music skills that:
- Nurture creativity
- Develop a problem-solving attitude
- Increase focus
- Builds collaboration and harmony
- Assists in time management
Apart from these life skills, there are other psychological benefits of music too. Since these benefits have far-reaching, positive effects, music therapy is extensively used to improve mental health.
Music and Mental Health - Are They Related?
Everyone wants to feel good to be more productive and happy. While there are tons of things you can do to achieve this, they all ultimately target to increase your dopamine levels. This dopamine is the singular feel-good element in the human body. The good news is that studies have found chemistry between music and dopamine. Hence, listening to music or learning how to play a musical instrument or improving your music skills relax your brain.
This points out how music affects your mental health.
Benefits of Learning Music on Mental Health
Learning music or improving your music skills greatly impacts your mental impact. Although it is a tedious task (in the beginning) to learn how to play a musical instrument, it has many associated benefits. These include:
- Accelerates your cognition. Playing a musical instrument has a positive effect on your brain's ability to function - you process things quicker, the power to concentrate increases and reasoning ability also heightens.
- Acts as a stress management tool. When you play a musical instrument or sing, all your thoughts and feelings come into play. You convey what you feel like through your music, thus making you feel less stressed. For this reason, karaoke is a great way to destress.
- Makes you more confident. Learning any new skill reflects in your personality and gives you more confidence. Therefore, successfully learning a musical instrument contributes to self-esteem and adds to your pride. All in all, this accomplishment makes you happy. With this accomplishment comes the confidence to play or sing in front of others. This builds up your confidence levels and lowers your inhibitions to freely express yourself.
- Enhances memory, reasoning and fine motor skills.
I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the other arts are the keys to learning."
Cognitive science and psychology suggest that music therapy can improve your brain functioning. It points out that musical training is capable of curing mental illness and promotes spatial and verbal memory. In fact, learning how to play a musical instrument is all about establishing hand-eye coordination and makes coordination better.
Benefits of Listening to Music on Mental Health
There are many different types of music. You choose the one that appeals to your ears and casts a relaxing impression on your mind. For some hard rock can be therapeutic, and for others, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata might do the trick.
This shows that apart from the above effects of learning music on mental health, there are additional benefits you gain from listening to good music. These include:
1- Improves your athletic performance (especially while running). Do you know why peppy music motivates you to work out better? It is because listening to music while running helps:
- Form an emotional response
- Aids the recovery process
- Improves speed and overall performance
2- Boosts your overall mood
"Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without."
Apart from inducing dopamine and serotonin, people who regularly listen to music while driving or doing other activities are more likely to feel energetic, lively and in good spirits. Therefore, music therapy is employed to cure depression, since it targets the hormones.
3- Reduces chronic pain. Good relaxing music can be a great way to distract patients from going into surgery or suffering from acute chronic pain. Studies suggest that listening to music listening helps control pain.
4- Helps you sleep better. Research by the National Library of Medicine shows that listening to music is therapy for the mind as it helps to relax, and consequently improves sleep. This exercise is better with classical music. So, tune yourself to Bach, Mozart or Beethoven the next time insomnia strikes.
All these wide range of benefits and implications of music on general wellness are incorporated into music therapy.
What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is the clinical use of music to impart various positive psychological effects and improve the client’s quality of life. Therapists (like the ones at Nordoff Robbins) use music to engage one in a thrilling and beneficial relationship with music.
But does music therapy for mental health actually work? Let’s find out.
Music therapy for mental health
The role of music in shaping our identities, cultural & spiritual beliefs is unparalleled. There is also a therapeutic relationship between music as a product & skill, and the person who listens or plays. The way that the mind and soul respond to listening to music or playing it is a proven psychological & clinical intervention. It is widely known in the classical music community that it was Beethoven’s love of music and his ability to play that helped him keep his mental health intact. This was also true for several other legends known for their classical music genii like Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninov, Mikhail Glinka and Anton Bruckner. They often channelled their issues & energy into their creations.
One would be remiss if there wasn’t a mention of upskilling in music here. It is in fact a musician’s desire to produce better work that keeps the mind and soul occupied in productivity. Moreover, evidence suggests that listening to certain types of music helps with mental health. Thus, stating the other side of music therapy- the product. Music therapy has proven to be effective when it is difficult for a person to communicate verbally. It is an unparalleled way of expression.
The genius of music certainly extends to various aspects of life, but it is the geniuses of music that show us ‘how?’ We live in an era where access to virtually anything in the world is at our fingertips, and so should be the access to good mental health. So strum up, drum up & skill up!