Using an Instrument to Learn a Language

November 22, 2019
Maya Elden

Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Class of 2020

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  1. Music is practically its own language

There are a countless number of words and phrases used in music that originate from a variety of languages: adante, forte, and sonata are just a few. When you learn to play an instrument and read sheet music, you learn the fundamentals of the notes, key signatures, finger placement, and a variety of other concepts. Each note is a different “word” of the language of music, as the notes are the ultimate foundation for songs. However, the key signatures, dynamics and counts are the “grammar” of music. When combined with the notes, the beautiful language known as music is formed.

  1. Develop hand-eye coordination

How can you read sheet music and know where your fingers are supposed to go? Reading sheet music requires a great deal of hand-eye coordination in order to simultaneously play notes and read music. You have to learn how to play the correct notes without looking at your fingers, which in turn causes the development of hand-eye coordination.

  1. Learn to accept criticism and build confidence

When learning any new skill making mistakes is practically inevitable. Believe it or not, making mistakes is actually very beneficial in the learning process, especially when it comes to learning an instrument. While you’re learning a new song, you may stumble over the notes, continually play sharps instead of flats, or just simply get overwhelmed. Sometimes a song can take days or even weeks to learn, and it can be frustrating… but the more you practice, the less you will make the same mistakes. Once you learn the song, you will be incredibly proud of yourself and gain a newfound sense of confidence.

  1. Help your health

Knowing how to play an instrument can have a number of profound effects on both mental and physical health. Studies have shown that playing an instrument can lower blood pressure and also decrease the risk of heart disease. Additionally, it can cause a decrease in anxiety, depression, and stress. There are a countless number of both mental and physical health benefits that can come with playing an instrument.

  1. Relieve stress

In my opinion, music is by far the best stress-reliever out there. Whenever I am overwhelmed or stressed, the piano always welcomes me to relieve my worries. I sit down on that bench and I instantly feel my troubles slip away through my fingers as I improvise an abundance of chords, key signatures, and rhythms into a harmonious melody. In fact, no matter how I feel- whether I’m happy, sad, or stressed- I find that playing the piano always makes me feel better.

  1. Increase school performance

Practicing a specific art form like music has been statistically proven to increase attention spans, performance in school, and SAT scores. Playing an instrument, especially at a young age, can cause an increase in cognitive abilities as well as memory. There are a variety of concepts in music that can further many skills, such as improved listening skills, patience, and speech processing.

  1. Explore the world of music

You’ll have a greater appreciation for music if you are someone who knows how to play an instrument. Whenever I hear a song that has a piano, I automatically like that song even more because… well, that is my instrument. You can look up any song, find the sheet music, and possess the ability to learn it. You can even create your own variation by integrating different chords and notes.

  1. Impress your family and friends

Once you learn a song, you can perform it in front of family and friends, and they will be very impressed with your abilities. Hearing words of encouragement from your peers will not only boost your self-confidence, but it will also cause you to fall in love with your instrument even more.

  1. Learn a New Skill

Who wouldn’t want to learn a new and intriguing skill, especially one that provides so many different benefits? If you learn how to play an instrument, you’ll have one more fun fact to tell the class on the first day or use it as an icebreaker at an event. You can also form bonds and friendships with other people that play instruments as well.

  1.  A window of opportunities

So many opportunities arise when you possess the knowledge to play an instrument. You can form social connections, improve your health, and develop a new skill. Once you’re “fluent” in your instrument, you can even teach other people how to play. You can perform for your friends and family, study music theory, and even write your own songs. I am beyond grateful that I learned to play the piano. From performing with the IC band to teaching kids how to play the piano to have a skill that I will be able to use for the rest of my life, playing piano has shaped me into who I am today, and I truly could not imagine my life without it.

Maya Elden is a BBG from Ohavim BBG #418 in Eastern Region: North Carolina Council, has played piano for 12 years, and works at a car wash.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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