Adult Learners

The Significance of What Learning Music Taught Me

By Jesse

What are the benefits of music education for students? Find out what learning music taught me!

Have you ever wondered why music education is so important? What benefits do students receive from music education? In this article, you will read about different ways music can make a positive impact upon the lives of students. 

Why is music education important?

Whether you are learning music to become a musician or learning it for fun, music education can provide you with skills that can transfer to many other parts of your life. 

What can music teach us about life?

Does music teach useful everyday life skills? The answer to this is a loud and resounding YES! 

While practicing or performing, a musician must learn to be skilled at listening and communicating. Listening is essential for making good music, whether that be listening to recordings of other musicians in order to improve our own interpretations, listening to the other musicians in an ensemble in order to match pitch and timing, or listening to students in order to give useful and constructive feedback. Another skill learned through music is the ability to listen to a song and be able to replicate it without looking at sheet music! In addition to listening, you must also communicate with other musicians around you so that all of the musical elements are represented in the sound and everyone can remain on the same page. The elements of listening and communicating combine to make us better at collaboration, which is the art of working well with other musicians. In a similar way to music, collaboration can help us in everyday life to connect with the people around us as we listen and communicate together. Collaboration skills make us better at working in teams!

Music teaches us observation and reflection skills. As we observe music and sound, we are observing what makes music sound pleasant versus unpleasant. After we do this, we can reflect on the replication of the pleasant sound. Being skilled at observation and reflection can help us improve ourselves in daily life too!

Learning music helps us to also learn to have patience and dedication. Being able to make good music doesn’t happen overnight. A musician must learn to be patient and dedicate the time and practice to feel confident and fulfilled as a performer. Over time, this dedication and patience also helps the musician develop deeper memory skills that may be applied to other aspects of life too!

Music-making builds confidence! It’s true. The more you perform, the easier it becomes to perform. I remember being extremely nervous for a performance early in my musical career. My hands trembled and my mind went blank. It was absolutely terrifying, but twenty years later, I am living my life as a professional musician! I still feel nervous when I perform, but I have done it for so long that I am much more comfortable with my nerves and can display confidence onstage. If you are a nervous performer, don’t worry – it does get easier!

Critical thinking and quick-decision making skills are all benefits of music education, too! Sometimes in life, the unexpected happens. There is a story about the jazz pianist Keith Jarrett and his famous Köln Concert. According to the story, he arrived at this performance and was provided with a poorly-kept piano without working pedals. He had already had a long and tiring journey and nearly refused to play the concert, but instead he took the limitations of the instrument into account and improvised for over an hour. His critical thinking and quick-decision making skills saved the concert and it ended up becoming one of the most famous concerts and recordings of his career. 

Learning music teaches us appreciation – to appreciate the world, its history, and its beauty while also noticing its faults. This appreciation can also help us strive to make the world a better place and add a good piece of ourselves to it. 

All of these life skills contribute to making ourselves better and can improve our performance at school, work, and in other groups!

Benefits of music education

As stated above, learning music can improve your

  • Collaboration skills
    • Listening skills
    • Communication skills
  • Observation and reflection skills
  • Patience and dedication
  • Memory
  • Confidence
  • Critical-thinking and quick decision-making skills
  • Appreciation
  • Performance at school and work

Knowledge of music theory (how and why music works)

  • Can make you a good sight reader
  • Can make you good at transcribing, playing, and enjoying songs that you love
  • Can help you have more tools as you learn to memorize a song

Knowledge of music history (who are good musicians and why?)

  • Can give you a wide variety of great music, interpretations, styles, and musicians to listen to
  • Can help you know how you want to express yourself

Final thoughts on the advantages of learning music theory

Music theory is the building blocks to creating any type of music. Several times people have approached me with the desire to learn music, but also mentioned that they had no desire to learn music theory. I like to stress that learning some music theory is essential to being able to play anything on the piano, whether that be learning how to read music or just how to play chords with a simple melody. As noted above, knowledge of music theory can help you to become a skilled sight reader. It can help you to figure out your favorite songs on the piano, and it can give you lots of tools as you memorize. 

The advantages to learning music truly are endless and I don’t think that this list even scratches the surface, but I hope it can inspire you to take the leap and learn piano or another instrument. The possibilities really are endless!

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