For many people who know how to play a musical instrument, they probably took lessons as a kid, when their parents would sit them down everyday and make them practice. Pretty soon, this probably manifested itself into a passion that they continue to have to this day.
However, this isn’t the only path for people who want to get into music. There’s a tendency among adults to think that, if you don’t already know how to play an instrument, you missed the train on doing so. This isn’t the case, though. There are plenty reasons why you should work towards learning a musical instrument, today, if that’s what you are passionate about doing…
It’s easier to train your ears, as an adult
One of the most difficult aspects of teaching music isn’t trying to get a kid to play an instrument, but to help them train their ears to recognize different auditory traits. Over time, young people eventually pick up on ear training, but it’s a long and arduous process.
However, this is actually something that is much easier and quicker to learn, as an adult. Learning to recognize things like audio dynamics and dimension is a simpler task for more developed ears. So, while kids who learned to play an instrument have an advantage in some ways, there are other ways where it is easier for adults to learn, quickly.
Your brain can change, even after it’s developed
One concern that people have is that they think their brains won’t develop to incorporate musical flow when they are adults. After all, there’s a reason that children are able to pick up on foreign languages much quicker than adults, because their mind is more malleable at that age.
However, while it can be more difficult, neuroscientists at UC Irvine have shown that a fully developed brain still has the capacity to change and develop habits that are necessary to learn an instrument. It does, however, require a bit more dedication and brainpower at the start to develop the mindset to learn a musical instrument.
Continuous practice is key
When you start learning a musical instrument, your brain needs to work incredibly hard to recognize and play each note, not to mention stay in rhythm. This is why it is so difficult to start learning an instrument when you are older. However, this trend can reverse after a tremendous amount of practice. Continually using your brain power to play each note will eventually build pathways that make it easier for your brain to tell your body what to do.
What’s so tricky is that your brain has probably never had to build these specific pathways before, if you’ve never learned to play an instrument. However, it’s just like typing words on a keyboard, eventually your mind will build habits that make it a second nature.
There are benefits to practicing music, casually
Typically, most people have their own reasons for wanting to learn to play an instrument at a later age. Maybe they’ve heard a piece of music that inspired them to take it up, or maybe it’s something they’ve always wanted to learn and are just getting around to it. Aside from those reasons, though, there are major mental benefits to learning an instrument.
Playing music stretches your brain like a muscle, and forces it to adapt to new and strange situations. This can help develop better memory and alertness, and can even have mental health benefits. So, in addition to learning something you already wanted to learn, playing music is like eating vegetables for your brain.
Music structure is easier for adults to understand
While you may not have realized it, there’s an extremely passive step you’ve been doing to learn how to play music for your entire life: listening to it. Listening to a wide variety of music has instilled an inherent understanding of how music structure works, even if you aren’t able to intellectualize it, quite yet. For this reason, while learning to play the notes naturally may take time, you already have a head start to playing songs and understanding how they fit together.