New Year, New You Skills
It’s a new year. It’s a new decade. I think we all agree that this does not and should not = a new you.
However, the beginning of a year is a great moment to reflect. Resolutions can be a useful focus but somehow that word is heavy with expectations.
How about setting yourself a challenge instead? Just one that you can focus on and dedicate time to rather than a whole list of things that get forgotten over the coming months. Learn something new or pick up an old hobby… You’ve already guessed where I’m going with this!
Learning a musical instrument might just be the best thing you do this year because of the wealth of other skills and benefits that come with it and it’s never too late to start!
By Sophie Ogunyemi
Here’s why we should all make music:
It is a form of therapy
- EVERY musician I’ve spoken to agrees that there’s nothing better to unwind and release emotions than playing their instruments.
- It’s a great way to release stress and relax as it takes your mind off everyday worries.
- Here’s an article specifically on The Power of Music To Reduce Stress.
It is a brain work out
- Learning and playing an instrument regularly uses parts of your brain which improve your memory and concentration powers.
- Figuring out and understanding rhythm is problem solving akin to maths equations.
- Reading music is learning a new language and therefore improving your comprehension skills.
- It has been proven!
It is a physical work out
- Ok, this one might depend more on which instrument you go for but, for example, brass instruments take a great deal of effort from your core and lungs for breath control. Drumming can use so much of your body that you often end up doing cardio!
- And your coordination will improve. When you’re playing, you’re asking your brain and body to coordinate at a fast pace between your eyes, hands and mind.
It unleashes creativity, self expression and emotional development
- All music is subject to interpretation. It’s up to you to express and add your personality to everything you play.
- Playing musical instruments enhances your emotional stability and helps you develop empathy towards others.
It helps you develop self discipline and patience
- Starting from scratch isn’t going to be all smooth sailing (even for a natural). Mastering it to any level takes practise, a process in itself which will improve your willpower.
- Putting in the hours to learn this new skill means you’ll have to organise your time effectively which will help with your time management.
It can improve your social life
- Once you’ve got the basics down, you can join ensembles meeting other musicians and build your team working, leadership and management skills.
It helps with your confidence
- The sense of achievement and accomplishment you get from nailing a section or even a whole song leaves you feeling positive, proud and uplifted which all adds up to you feeling more confident!
- Performing for an audience – friends, family or the world at large, might take you out of your comfort zone but taking that risk and putting yourself out there will help you to become a better presenter in work and general life.
All these added bonuses aside, making music is fun! It stimulates your brain and stops you from sitting idly whilst scrolling through various social media platforms…
So, what are you waiting for?
1 | Pick your instrument
From guitar to double bass, saxophone to DJ decks – there will be something that suits you! If you’re not sure or can’t quite decided, pop into your local music shop for some advice.
2 | Find a teacher
Again, check with your local music shop, they’ll have lots of connections. Or check the UK Music Teachers group on Facebook. OR you could learn independently by following online tutorials like OME or the Fender Play app. Or just good old YouTube. (There are so many options, no excuse!)
3 | Get playing!
It’s a no brainer 😉
How Take it away can help you
Instruments and lessons can be expensive meaning some people never discover the joy of learning and playing music. For disabled musicians who need adapted instruments, the problems can be particularly challenging.
At Take it away, we work with our retail partners, Arts Council England and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to break down these barriers. A part of Creative United, a community interest company that drives economic growth and social impact in the arts and creative industries, we provide a range of subsidised and non-subsidised loans. These are designed to make learning, playing and participating in music more affordable and open to everyone.
Together with our partners, we look to enable and inspire a life-long love of music.