When you learn to play a musical instrument, you get the obvious reward of knowing how to make music and operate your instrument. That in itself is really fulfilling and enjoyable, but most musicians will tell you that they’ve picked up a number of important life skills from studying music.

Studying music requires you to be disciplined, hard-working, and creative. However, learning music can serve as a personal development tool to help you hone in the skills you already have. Also, it can allow you to practice skills that you’ll need to use in other life situations. Here are nine skills that you can acquire from learning music.

1. Seeing the Big Picture

Wait, how is seeing the big picture a skill? Well, there is a saying is that is especially true for learning music.

The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.

Learning to play an instrument doesn’t happen overnight. Many musicians dedicate years to mastering their instrument. Finding satisfaction in the process of learning helps musicians to keep their eye on the prize while still enjoying the present moment, including all of the challenges that come along with learning music. This may mean delayed gratification, but as you’ll learn through music, it’s well worth the wait. 

Seeing the big picture is a life skill you’ll find is beneficial in many other situations. Whether it’s applying for jobs, getting your degree, shopping for a new home, or tackling parenthood for the first time, a lot of good things require a process. Learning to enjoy that process can make life far more enjoyable!

2. Time Management

It is impossible to cram when you’re learning music. You can’t figure it out right before your lesson or just before a performance. Music takes a lot of time to settle into your brain and your hands or voice. Understanding the timeline needed to learn music is a great way to practice time management skills. As you’re learning new music, you have to consider how long it might take to learn it, when you plan to carve out the time to practice, and how to best use your practice time. 

You’ll probably need to use this same thought process to plan out other large-scale projects or responsibilities that you take on.  

3. Perseverance

Learning an instrument can be frustrating, both physically and mentally. Whether you’re a guitarist playing through sore fingertips or a vocalist who just can’t get to that high note, it can be easy to want to give up. It takes a special skill to stick with something even though you know it will be difficult or it may not always be fun.

Life presents us with so many other tasks that aren’t necessarily enjoyable or pleasant but often, we just have to get them done. The perseverance you learn through learning music will help you look at the big picture, and see why pushing through can be incredibly rewarding.

4. Problem Solving

Music doesn’t always have a clear-cut answer. You may be having difficulty interpreting the score, executing a difficult technical passage, or finding motivation. You will learn that there are plenty of opportunities to find creative and unique solutions to the issues you’re facing. You may need to ask a teacher or expert, watch a tutorial, do some research or consult with a friend.

The problem-solving situations you encounter with your music will help you when you face obstacles in your life. You’ll regularly be practicing how to think creatively and use your resources.

5. Creativity

Playing music is a wonderful way to express yourself creatively. The way you approach and interpret your music is unique to you. It helps mold you into an individual and creative thinker. This creativity is something that will shine out in other areas of your life as well. 

6. Thinking On The Spot

Music requires you to make many split-second decisions over and over. It forces you to think quickly on your toes. Over time, you can become very quick at reacting to small mistakes, surprises in the music, and unexpected outcomes. 

As we all know too well, life has a way of throwing us curveballs from time to time. Being able to process quickly and come up with a solution, even if it’s only temporary, can help you to compartmentalize and deal with situations head-on.

7. Patience

Playing music over and over again to perfect the smallest details is a wonderful way to cultivate patience. It’s tempting to want to gloss over all of the little things in music and play what seems easy. But when you spend time mastering the details, you see the best results.

One of the most common pieces of advice that teachers give to students is to practice slowly. Sometimes, students don’t see how slow practice can add up to fast, fluid playing. If you put in the time practicing slowly, it becomes effortless to gradually make your music move faster. The slow, patient work is what will pay off the most.

Practicing this kind of patience is a great lesson to bring into your everyday life. It’s worth it to do things the right way, even if it means it’s not as easy.

8. Communication and Collaboration

Music is a fantastic way to communicate with others. Not only do you have to learn to communicate about your music, but you also learn to communicate through music. In addition, you’ll probably encounter many musicians on your musical journey in which you’ll want to collaborate with. You might be in an ensemble or choir, or you might be an aspiring songwriter. Communicating with your music teacher, collaborating with fellow musicians, and sending a musical message to your listeners all require different strategies. These strategies will be helpful in your relationships at school, jobs, and other social situations.

9. Taking on Responsibility

Believe it or not, there is more than just practice responsibilities for musicians. Whether you’re going to recitals, joining ensembles, taking music theory classes, being a musician can be busy. And though we’d wish it if we could, life doesn’t seem to pause for any of it.

Being a musician teaches you how to take on many responsibilities, wear several hats, and perform under pressure. Learning how to deal with your responsibilities in the music world will carry over into many other aspects of your life as well.

10. Coping and Stress Management

Many musicians discover that practicing music becomes a helpful outlet when dealing with stress and other difficult situations. Playing music can be very therapeutic. Having the option to cope through music is a valuable tool that can help balance out many of life’s challenges.

We hope you can now see why all those hours of practice can be worth so much more than just having the perfect performance. Music impacts you in so many ways, and these are just a few of them!

Feeling motivated to start learning a new song? Make sure to check out the world’s largest collection of digital sheet music at musicnotes.com!

This post was written by Megan, piano teacher and author of Pianissimo: A Very Piano Blog. Visit her website for more piano related blogs for teachers, parents, students, and all things piano.

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