"We all know that playing a musical instrument is good for the mind. The act of working out how to make pleasant noises out of a box with strings stretched across it, or a stick with a hole running through it, is meditative and calming in an increasingly hectic world. But working out which instrument is the right one for you can be just as stressful as the stress you were hoping to defuse in the first place." Fraser McAlpine
Which instrument is best for you? But first a few questions...
Do you like to use your fingers?
Do you like to blow through a straw when drinking a Coke?
Are you a singer when in the shower?
Do you like to pluck a tennis racket when there is no tennis match on the tele?
Do you like hammering and sawing, perhaps at home or at work?
If you like using your fingers you may prefer a guitar or other string instrument like a mandolin, ukulele or a banjo.
If you like to blow through straws or maybe you did as a child, perhaps a trumpet, trombone or tuba might suit.
If you sing in the shower, well, you may want to sing for yourself or for a few others until you get your confidence up, but either way singing lessons would be a good avenue.
Plucking a tennis racket may mean a guitar or electric guitar is for you. You may be a bass player even and every band needs one!
Hammering or sawing or even tapping the table at your local restaurant could mean the drums or even bowing a fiddle would be your best instrument of choice.
Anyway you choose it should be relaxing or stress free as most of our lives are busy enough.
Belfast Dreams School of Music
(Belfast Dreams School of Music is a member of Music Tutors UK)
"Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul."
Private musical tuition is probably the best method of learning to play a musical instrument. Music is an important aspect of our lives and learning to play is a wonderful feeling of self achievement.
Musical education has formed an important role in all school curricula. It is a well known fact that music can help a person to relax, increase creativity and stimulate certain areas of the brain that can boost academic learning too.
Here are just a few reasons to take that old guitar out of the wardrobe:
They were always going to be on the list somewhere. People get a bit tired of perpetual Beatles mentions, and in the process forget just how much they changed music. While their early hits single-handedly invented Pop (a genre that, for all intents and purposes, can be considered Rock n Roll / RnB 'lite'), their later stuff helped define other sub-genres of Rock - from their psychedelic phase helping shape the sound of the 60s, to their heavier songs from the White Album helping pave the way for Hard Rock and Metal sub-genres.
When one learns the guitar, there are a few acts towards which one aspires. Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Angus Young... but one figure overshadows them all. Possibly the most dedicated guitarist ever, who could coax sounds out of his instrument the likes of which haven't been heard before or since, and who was at one point caught sleeping next to his guitar while in the US Army: Jimi Hendrix. The star by which practically all contemporary rock, blues and RnB guitarists steer by. His sound is truly amazing, his talent unmatched.
The wildcard on the list. Beginning life as a fairly conventional 60s pop group (inspired heavily by psychedelica), before moving towards progressive rock, Pink Floyd broke through the haze that ensnared similar acts such as Hawkwind and Genesis and went on to become true musical giants. Their sound, driven by the rhythm section's slow but driving pace, soaring guitar solos and lyrics on complex themes, weathered the fads and trends of the industry with grace. While genres rose and fell, Pink Floyd's songs remained the same.
With the Zep, rock music got a darker and heavier. Without them, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal probably wouldn't have existed, although as we mentioned earlier the precedents for both these genres sound occurred in earlier Beatles songs such as Helter Skelter. But the Zep took it to a new level, with wild, fast, brutal songs like Communication Breakdown on their first album. Throughout all their music was an undercurrent of mysticism, which both genres adopted in the form of magical, infernal, otherworldy imagery.
This was the man who wrested RnB and Electric Blues into a thing called Rock and Roll. As John Lennon famously said, "if Rock and Roll was called anything else, it'd probably be called Chuck Berry". While its hard to assign one individual with single-handedly creating a genre, in this case its probably valid: of all music contemporary to him, he has the sound we would recognise as truly 'rocky'. This innovation, combined with his marketing to a teenage audience, helped thrust Rock and Roll forwards towards the worldwide popularity it enjoys today.
1. Boost self-esteem and confidence
By encouraging your child to learn music, you are building a confidence in them that they may not have been able to gain elsewhere. For example, if your child has started taking piano lessons and he learns to play his first song, this immediately boosts his confidence.
I remember when my son first started his piano lessons at the age of six, and just a few months later he was so excited to be able to play piano in front of his friends at his birthday party. He was both confident and extremely proud of himself; and I couldn't have been prouder too!
2. Boosts Brain Power
Music has the power to build a child's imagination and curiosity thus boosting their brain power. It also requires counting notes and rhythm which can help a child with their Maths skills, whilst reading the notes and translating them into a finger position will help with comprehension and reading skills. More studies are linking music to better brain function and greater academic achievement.
3. Improves Social Skills
While children who learn to play musical instruments are developing a new skill, they are widening their social circles at the same time. Whether they have private one-to-one lessons or group tuition, they are likely to meet new friends, be it during lessons, at school, or at after-school classes.
Learning a new skill means they will have new topics to discuss in conversation, and having a passion for something will inspire them to talk, learn and interact with others. Improving their social skills will almost certainly be transferred into other aspects of their lives such as dealing with meeting new people, and more satisfying interaction with their existing circle of friends.
4. Develops Physical Skills
In the same way that children develop physical and motor skills through sports, they can develop these skills by practising a musical instrument. Their hand-eye coordination, the movement in certain parts of their bodies and the improvement of breathing techniques are to name but a few.
5. Improves Memory
Music is a wonderful world of notes and instruments and learning them can be a stimulating and challenging process for children. Music constantly encourages children to use their memory to perform leading to greater memorisation abilities in education and more.
6. Teaches Patience & Discipline
When learning to play an instrument, children must learn to be in time with the music, and play at the correct moments, so patience and discipline will start to come naturally to them. Moreover, children will need to practice regularly and have the discipline to master their musical instrument. In time your child will prosper and understand that although something might be difficult to begin with, perseverance will prove that nothing is impossible.
In addition, participating in group music activities like an orchestra or choir requires a child to wait their turn, teaching children patience, teamwork and discipline.
7. Improves Language & Academic Skills
Musical training can even help your child develop their language and academic skills - no, really! Music lessons have been found to develop the areas of the brain associated to language and reasoning. It is a fact that music and songs can imprint data and information better on young minds. By teaching children music we are promoting craftsmanship and a sense of accomplishment, and children will always want to create great work - something that can be applied to all subjects of study.
8. Introduces Other Cultures
Children learning music can often be more emotionally developed with empathy to other cultures. Music comes in a vast variety of genres from classical traditions to folk music and each piece of music usually has it's own storyline or background. By reflecting the times and places of the different musical pieces your child will encounter they are learning to appreciate other times and cultures.
(This article extended from Emily Ireland, Musical Director)