Students in the UK are facing the unprecedented educational challenges posed by COVID-19 head-on right now.
In this blog post, Hayes Music shares how playing a musical instrument can help with everything from brain function and learning to mental health, and provide useful tips for beginners who want to get started.
Students and coronavirus
Students up and down the country are experiencing unprecedented measures as restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus close universities and colleges. With higher education institutions shut, young people are being forced to tackle the trials that come with home-studying alone.
Studying remotely with limited support is something most students are currently confronted with, and this can lead to stress, reduced attention and lack of motivation.
However, playing a musical instrument is not just a rewarding hobby—it’s proven to have beneficial effects on your health and brain function too. Read on to find out more.
The benefits of playing musical instruments
It can improve brain function
We’ve all heard of the “Mozart effect”—the idea that listening to classical music can make you more intelligent, but many studies show that music in general can make you smarter.
And research suggests that playing music—as opposed to just listening to it—can improve your memory and overall brain function.
It can relieve stress
Managing your learning from home is bound to induce stress at some point. Music has been used as a coping mechanism for human emotion for decades, and is widely considered a great way to relieve stress.
Playing an instrument can go further than simply listening to music, helping to divert your focus away from the stressful situation and into something which is both positive and enjoyable.
It gets your creativity flowing
Stuck for ways to make your learning more engaging during lockdown? Playing a musical instrument might be what’s needed to get your creative mojo back and reinvent the way you study to adapt to the “new normal”.
Playing musical instruments: getting started
The benefits of playing a musical instrument are clear, but how do you actually get into playing? During the current lockdown, it isn’t as easy as visiting your local music store, but there are other ways you can get started. Here’s our tips:
Tip 1 – How to choose your instrument
If you’re unsure what instrument you want to learn, consider the style and genre of music you like to listen to.
If you like rock, you may prefer to learn the electric guitar or drums. Alternatively, if you like classical, then violin, flute or keyboard piano might be more up your street.
You also need to think about the practical side of owning an instrument, i.e do you have space to keep it, and—especially relevant during lockdown—can you get it delivered easily?
Although music shops may not be open to the public at present, many are still in operation online. If you contact any reputable music store, they will have the knowledge and experience needed to offer helpful advice on which instrument type and specific model would be best for you.
Tip 2 – Lower your expectations
Whatever your initial expectations are for learning an instrument, lower them. Playing an instrument takes a lot of time and patience—no one is born a grade 8 musician.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes you a while to pick up either, music is all about practice. The more you play, the better you’ll get.
Tip 3 – Use YouTube
Music books for beginners are a great foundation, but YouTube lessons shouldn’t be ignored. YouTube is full of free video tutorials for almost every song or musical piece there is, and these videos break it down, with options suitable for all abilities.
The video nature also means that you can pause and rewind as much as necessary, so you can learn at your own pace. These videos are particularly useful during lockdown, with one-to-one lessons unavailable.