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Learn to Play Music

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by Brendan Wan (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer who enjoys travel & culture.Enjoy more writings from me by visiting my blog at
Published May 10th 2011
As an avid guitarist who occasionally likes to show-off, there is nothing cooler than seeing someone play a musical instrument. A guy would think a girl playing an instrument is elegant, refined and somewhat seductive. A girl would think a guy playing an instrument is smart, charismatic and cool. Well that's my opinion at least; however one sure thing is that there are many benefits in learning a musical instrument that just looking cool.

Start today and unleash that inner Hendrix by learning a musical instrument. It doesn't matter if you've previously had past musical experience, as long as you love music you can't really go wrong there. Just to prove to you how good learning a musical instrument can be, here are a few examples of its benefits.

Playing a Musical Instrument Makes You Smarter

Well not literally exactly overnight, but it does help improve certain parts in the brain, the memorizing and the reasoning part of your brain to be precise.

There have been numerous study conducted on the benefits of music education; one of these studies have proven that children who do play music, do better in school that those who don't.
If you think about it, Music is like a foreign language in the sense that you have so many different types of musical styles that are essentially communicating to same beat and rhythm. Playing rock differs so much to playing jazz. By learning to differentiate the two distinct styles, the brain is able to increase stimulation in the creativity and reasoning sides of the brain, thereby effectively using both parts of the brain simultaneously to assist the mind in remaining alert and active.

It Relieves Stress and Promotes Health and Wellbeing

Playing a musical instrument is not only fun, but it has been scientifically proven to improve our health and wellbeing. As music therapy researcher, Dr Taut, puts it: "The brain that engages in music is changed by engaging in music."
Music has a very interesting way of shaping our moods. How many times have you heard 'Eye of the Tiger' and just felt pumped to take on anything? When we listen to sad music, we begin to feel just that little sad inside. When we hear some cheery, happy songs, our mind takes on the positive energy and enhances our moods. In the same manner, Music can be used to reduce our stress levels when listening to soothing music, which triggers the relaxation response, thereby lowering blood levels.

If you are interested in undertaking a woodwind instrument, you will be happy to know science has proven that learning a woodwind instrument can help with respiratory disorders such as asthma. Playing wind instruments can also teach a student corrective breathing techniques, which would in effect, result in better development in the lungs.

It Teaches Discipline

At first, learning how to play music will be difficult. You may be frustrated at how many different chords are there to a particular song or annoyed by the fact that are many painstaking weeks of practise, you only know the intro to a song. Learning how to play music will take time and effort, and it will also take a bit of discipline to master the musical instrument of your choice. Just keep practising and practising and eventually you will start to see progress in yourself.

So you understand why music is so good for you now? Good, now it's time for you to go out there, buy your instrument and start playing. Now it may be scary at first, but remember to have some courage and tackle the instrument.

Learning by Yourself vs. Learning from a Teacher

When I first learnt guitar, I mainly taught myself and occasionally would ask friends, who already knew how to play, for help. I gradually did improve, however after a while; I began taking music classes since the style of music that I wanted to play would require expert knowledge.

The obvious benefit to teaching yourself is that you can learn whenever you want and learn whatever you want. Just by popping into your bookstore, there are many music books to choose from. Alternatively, you can just use google and find websites that can help you to learn how to play the instruments you want and play the songs you want.

The problem with being self taught however is that you may develop some bad habits since there's no expert there to help correct you. When especially learning musical theory, a teacher is always very handy to have since theory can be quite difficult at times. A teacher is good in helping you understand music theory, the reasons for proper technique and can help discard any bad habits one may potentially develop if they were self-taught.

The only drawback from learning at a music school is that it can be at times feel like you're in school again and since we're in difficult financial times; it may be costly. However, the positives do really out weight the negatives. There are many things that you can't learn from books, videos or youtube clips, no matter how good they are.

The way Jimi Hendrix plays sonic explosions on his guitar or how Jimmy Page uses a violin bow to get some freaky sounds out of his guitar; these are the wonderfully things that can only be learnt from someone teaching you. The subtle little things that add flavour and texture to your own style all comes from the very same person who taught you. I know for a fact that the little guitar quirks I do can be traced back to my guitar teacher.

In my personal opinion, I think learning by yourself is more fun and challenging but it's still best to go to a music school or at least hire a tutor to help you with your progress in the instrument of your choice. They are there to make sure you can handle the instrument and the music properly from the very start.

Music is one of the simple joys in life; if we all took a minute to enjoy this simple joy, it would make our lives just that little better. It is something that can be used while you do your regular activities, taking your shower, doing exercise and a whole heap of other stuff. Playing an instrument can do so much wonders. It's only very recent that science has discovered the benefits of musical learning, and even today, we are still discovering more wonderful and exciting facts about music.

Now, imagine a scenario where you're in a room with a bunch of friends, and you just suddenly bring out a trombone or a guitar and play everyone's favourite tunes. Let me ask you, who is the coolest person in that room? That's right, you will be!

Remember, "Practice makes perfect." So get off your back side and start rocking out or jazzing out.
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