Author Archives: Adam Cooper

Nine In Ten Children Want To Learn A Musical Instrument, Survey Finds

Research into children’s interest in learning a musical instrument finds that young children are keener than ever, but interest among other children is dwindling.

A new piece of research by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra reveals nine in ten children want to learn a musical instrument.

The survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of the RPO, asked children aged 6 to 16 around the UK about their interest in learning a musical instrument.

Band instruments like the guitar (45%), piano (36%) and drums (35%) proved the most popular. Meanwhile, 75% of children opted for an orchestral instrument, such as the violin (10%), flute (8%) and saxophone (8%). At the other end of the scale, children were least interested in learning the French horn and double bass.

Of those surveyed, girls (95%) were slightly keener to learn an instrument than boys (90%). The instruments most popular with girls were the flute (13%), recorder (13%), violin (14%) and viola (14%).

Boys, on the other hand, were far more likely to want to learn the guitar (50%), drums (45%) and bass guitar (28%).

More boys want to learn guitar than any other instrument, study finds.

The information follows a study revealing gender imbalance in orchestral instrumental sections, which found there were no women trombone or tuba players.

in the world’s top 20 orchestras. It also found the majority of double bass (95%) and timpani players (96%) were men.

The RPO’s survey also indicates that the older a child gets, the less interested they become in learning a musical instrument. James Williams, managing director of the RPO, suggests more needs to be done to nurture children’s interests in music, saying: “The relative speed with which children’s interest in learning a musical instrument falls from 96% to 84% in just four years underlines the work that needs to be done to support young musicians and at a crucial age.”

Between the ages of ten and 14, the proportion of children who said they were no longer interested in learning a musical instrument quadrupled from 4% to 16%. This age group were also more likely to say their school did not encourage them to develop an interest in music (rising from 28% among 6-10 year olds, to 41% of over 14 year olds).

Schools are under pressure to improve the current level of music provision offered to pupils.

This follows a study by the University of Sussex which revealed that the number of schools offering music at A Level has dropped by more than 15% over the last two years.

“Wherever possible, music needs to stay on the school curriculum but, more fundamental than that, teenagers need reassurance that music matters,” says James Williams.

“Given the UK has some of the world’s most respected orchestras, we need to invest in tomorrow’s talent.”

Youth Music: School Music Lessons Should Cover Hip-Hop & Grime

Youth Music calls for a focus on ‘Stromzy rather than Mozart’ to engage hard-to-reach and often disenfranchised pupils.

The national charity has called for schools to adopt more current styles of music, citing newly conducted research that found more inclusive music-making improves concentration and attendance levels amongst pupils at risk of exclusion. A four years tidy by Youth Music concluded that too many schools fail to include contemporary musical genres in their music lessons.

To combat this the charity, working in collaboration with Birmingham City University, set up partnerships between contemporary community music organisations and secondary schools in England to examine the impact of introducing a modern music curriculum. Almost 1,000 pupils aged between 11 – 15 were exposed to the new lessons. Researchers found that young people who were at risk of exclusion at the outset of the programme maintained high levels of attendance – more than 95% – throughout the programme.

Some who had already been excluded said the programme helped them to return to mainstream school. Researchers also found there was a beneficial impact on other subjects, with participants performing better than expected in maths and English.

Government urged to swap Mozart for Stormzy in UK schools to engage pupils from all backgrounds.

Matt Griffiths, Youth Music chief executive, said: “Evidence shows that music-making is a strong contributor to young people’s personal and social development. But despite school being the one place where everyone should be able to access music, we’ve consistently heard how it doesn’t reflect their existing musical lives and passions. And their access is being restricted because school music departments are disappearing by the day.”

He said the new study, called Exchanging Notes, showed music in schools has the power to help young people cope with mental health difficulties, isolation and social inequality. “But only if it is re-imagined to become more relevant and inclusive of all young people'” Youth Music urged the government to protect music in schools by ensuring all pupils receive a minimum of one hour a week of musical education. It wants the focus to be less on attainment and more about creative music-making.

It called on the Department of Education to introduce a 21st century curriculum, drawing on young people’s existing musical tastes and reflecting their interests and listening habits. It also backed earlier calls for schools to be denied a “good” or “outstanding” Ofsted judgement unless they show a strong commitment to arts and culture.

A DfE spokesperson responded to the study: “We want all pupils to have the opportunity to study music at school – that’s why it is compulsory in the national curriculum from the age of five up to 14. We are currently working with music groups and practitioners to refresh the national plan for music education and develop a high-quality model music curriculum.”

Tees Valley Youth Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary Gala Concert – Recap

Tees Valley Youth Orchestra performed one of their largest and most ambitious concerts in its history on Sunday evening. After months of speculation and build up, the 50th Anniversary Gala Concert was here, with the event being held at the Sage Gateshead; one of the most prestigious arts and culture venues in the North East of England.

The concert started promptly at 7:30pm in the main auditorium. The audience contained a mixture of parents, wider family and friends, invited delegates and supporters of the Youth Orchestra.

A special commemorative 50th Anniversary programme was available to purchase from the Friends of Tees Valley Youth Orchestra, with all profits going towards the New York Tour. This programme included the names of every performer, a brief history of how TVYO formed and a message from Susan Robertson (TVMS General Manager) and Mark Douglas (Chairman of Friends of Tees Valley Youth Orchestra).

The doors to the auditorium opened and seats were quickly filled up as Tees Valley Alumni took to the stage to kick off the evening. Tees Valley Alumni are comprised of more than 100 former members of Tees Valley Youth Orchestra and it was a real treat to watch and hear them play as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations. Many of these members now are professional musicians with established musical careers who had traveled great distances to perform in the concert.

David Kendall lead Tees Valley Alumni on performances composed by Mussorgsky and Wagner.

They were joined on stage by David Kendall who was one of the earliest conductors to lead Tees Valley Youth Orchestra, then known as Cleveland Youth Orchestra, to start with Night on Bare Mountain by Mussorgsky as the first piece of the concert.

As a follow up they played Prelude – ‘Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg’  by Wagner. The atmosphere was electric as the technique and class of the performers was clearly on display.

Susan Robertson, TVMS General Manager, then welcomed Chris Ouvry-Jones to the stage. Like David Kendall, Mr Ouvry-Jones was another former conductor to Tees Valley Youth Orchestra and it was now his turn to conduct the Alumni Orchestra. The pieces he conducted were Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4.

The Alumni Orchestra, as well as their respective conductors, were given ovations by the audience following their performances. Then the concert was temporarily held for a 15 minute interval to give Tees Valley Youth Orchestra, who would be the main focus of the second half, time to set up on stage.

After everyone took their seat the concert resumed as Susan Robertson introduced TVYO and their current conductor, Nicholas Nowicki. TVYO’s major piece, Symphony No. 1 in D major by Mahler, lasted for 45 minutes. Each player displayed precision and dedication which was certainly no small feat. Over 130 members of the orchestra performed at the Sage Gateshead

Encores were given which saw David Kendall and Chris Ouvry-Jonesreturn to the stage and join Nicholas Nowicki to conduct once more. This time they performed Les Toreadors by Bizet, Slavonic Dance No. 8 by Dvorak and The Stars and Stripes Forever by Sousa to finish out the concert.

Tees Valley Youth Orchestra took a bow for their performance as the audience gave them a standing ovation.

The audience reaction was overwhelmingly supportive as one audience member said as they were leaving the concert hall: “That was the best performance TVYO have ever gave and certainly one of the best concerts I’ve been to.”

A parent to one orchestra member had this to say: “The amount of time and commitment that these young people have given to their music is inspirational and I’m proud of what they’ve achieved.”

Now, TVYO look ahead to New York as on Thursday 11th July 2019 (8:30pm local time) the Youth Orchestra will be performing a full-length concert at the world-famous Carnegie Hall. And if this Gala Concert is anything to go by, we are in for something very special indeed.


Fundraising Target Reached For New York Tour

With less than 2 months to go until Tees Valley Youth Orchestra depart for America on what will be their biggest tour to date, the fundraising target to ensure the tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience has been reached.

In early 2018, following the confirmation of TVYO’s tour to New York, the Friends of Tees Valley Youth Orchestra (FTVYO) set a goal of raising £30,000 in order to subsidies the total cost for parents and grant every member of the Orchestra with the opportunity to be a part of the 50th Anniversary Concert.

This was an ambitious aim and a benchmark that could have easily been seen as unrealistic to hit. But due to the tremendous support from members, their parents and supporters of the Youth Orchestra, donations quickly started to come through.

Throughout 2018 and right up to May 2019, special fundraising concerts were held, raffles were organised and memorabilia such as celebratory calendars and bespoke event programmes were designed, professionally printed and sold.

TVMS also launched the Sponsor a Seat and Broadway to Broadway campaigns to contribute to the fundraising effort. These campaigns offered individuals and local businesses the chance to become official sponsors of TVYO. As part of their package, sponsors were offered complimentary tickets to all TVYO events in their 50th Anniversary Year, promotion across all of TVMS’ digital channels and a photo opportunity with the complete orchestra.

The fundraising campaigns were very successful and in February 2019 the total amount raised surpassed £25,000!

But despite this momentous achievement there was no attempt to slow the campaigns down as Tees Valley Youth Orchestra were determined to hit their original target so the fundraising continued.

And on the evening of Sunday 6th May at the Sage Gateshead it was announced, in front of an audience of parents, families, sponsors and supporters that £30,000 had been raised for Tees Valley Youth Orchestra’s tour to New York to perform at Carnegie Hall.

TVMS Service Manager Susan Robertson invited Chairman of Friends of TVYO, Mark Douglas and the Treasurer of FTVYO, Ann Savell, on stage to display the cheque.

Mrs Robertson also commended the fundraising efforts and the support from local businesses and individuals who’s involvement was instrumental in securing the funds for the tour to go ahead.

Susan concluded her speech by praising the Youth Orchestra members for their “talent and dedication”. “Thank you to every member of the Orchestra for your commitment. The performance at Carnegie Hall will be truly magnificent and it is great that we have these young ambassadors to our region.”

The cheque was presented to conclude the 50th Anniversary Galla Concert at the Sage Gateshead on Sunday 5th May.

Apply Now To Join TVYO In 2019/2020

The Orchestra 

TVYO is a high standard, thriving full-size youth orchestra which gives several concerts each year in the Teesside area and beyond, including foreign tours. It regularly tackles exciting repertoire, and recent concerts have included critically acclaimed performances of Shostakovich’s Symphonies No. 5, 7 and 10 at Sage Gateshead. The orchestra has been finalists in the National Youth Festival of Music for Youth for the last five years, performing is Symphony Hall, Birmingham. In 2017, they were awarded a National Award. In July 2014 they performed at the Florence International Festival of Youth Orchestras in Italy and toured Hungary in 2016, culminating in a sold-out-concert at the famous Vigado Concert Hall on the banks of the Danube. In 2018, they toured to Granada and Seville. They will also be performing at Carnegie Hall, NYC in July 2019 for their 50th anniversary. 


Auditions are quite light hearted and designed to make you feel at ease to play. They are not onerous or scary! The audition lasts approximatley 10 minutes and players will be asked to play a piece of their own choice, to play some scales which will be selected by the panel from the Grade 5 syllabus or the grade currently being worked towards, and to sight-read. Auditions take place on Friday evening.

Minimum requirements

Strings and Percussion players should be Grade 5 or above. Brass and Woodwind players should be Grade 6 or above. These are guidelines only. Players are welcome to apply if their playing shows potential, and their application is supported by a teacher.

Current charges

Currently, for those already registered with TVMS there is no additional charge for membership of Tees Valley Youth Orchestra.

For those not already registered, the ensemble membership charge is £15 per month currently.


If you wish to audition, complete the application form online. Alternatively you can print off a copy and send it to:

TVYO Auditions, Tees Valley Music Service, Frederick Nattrass Centre, Swale Road, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1BY.

We will be in touch with you shortlyt after receiving your application.

Is There Really A Music Education Crisis?

For years there have been cries from national newspapers and educational bodies that an expulsion of compulsory music education would be inevitable, citing the decreases in uptake for music at GCSE level. Even primary schools are experiencing a lull in provision for the arts subjects to make way for additional numeracy and literacy lessons.

The plight of music in state education has always been a contentious issue with many concluding that there is a crisis in music education that additional funding cannot solely resolve. It is becoming increasingly clear that many of those who are arguing for more attention to be given to music in the curriculum do not have a clear plan for rectifying these issues.

Music education in schools

But the flurry of media headlines, stating the end of music in schools as we know it is somewhat misleading. In fact, not only is this narrative unhelpful – it’s also untrue. The doom and gloom story is in danger of drowning out the significant successes of the last decades. And it’s doing a disservice to the large number of individuals and organisations who are engaging and inspiring young people through music.

Amid talks of cuts, it can be easy to forget that the Department for Education invests £75m a year into music education hubs. Arts Council England’s national portfolio funding for music organisations, many of which deliver education work, exceeds £90m annually.

The charity organisation Youth Music invests around £9m a year in projects that foster a wide range of musical, personal and social outcomes.

Music education has faced criticism, often justified, for being the preserve of the wealthy, too focused on classical music, and of varying quality. But the emergence of exciting new groups and initiatives is rapidly changing this, and the field is now more creative, diverse, inclusive and relevant than ever.

Fresh ways of engaging in music

The Electric Youth Ensemble is encouraging traditional orchestral players to develop new performance skills and think about music differently. Last year Grime: An Opera performed in a disused bus shelter by professional grime musicians and music producers and Essex Youth Orchestra.

Watch the highlights from A Grime Opera below:

At a recent panel debate, several GCSE music awarding bodies confimed that newere forms of music-making like MCing and music production are legitimate pathways through the qualification.

Making music-making more accessible

Music education is also becoming more accessible. The charity Open Up Music has developed a musical instrument called the clarion that can be played with any part of the body. Along with other accessible instruments, it’s being used in 54 open orchestras that take place in special schools across the country.

The South West Open Youth Orchestra in Bristol is the country’s first regional disabled-led youth orchestra. And a range of other initiatives are supporting participation from under-represented groups, such as the large-scale Both Sides Now project for emerging female music creators in the north of England.

The sector is also being enhanced through digital resources like Charanga’s VIP Studio Suite, which enables young people to compose, record and produce popular music styles in the classroom, so teachers don’t have to be specialists in these forms of music. Charanga’s new music resource for people with special educational needs and disability is already being used by over 150 special schools across the country, supported by music hubs nationwide – including Tees Valley Music Service.

Glimmers of hope

With all this said, there have undeniably been significant cuts to music in some secondary schools, as music’s place in the curriculum has been downgraded due to the Ebacc and funding pressures. The scale is not fully known, but these cuts have probably affected at least one-third of state funded secondaries.

But this decline started long before the Ebacc even existed, and may well be counterbalanced to an extent by an increase in more vocational music qualifications. In some schools, music is positively thriving. At Manor Academy in York there were 146 expressions of interest to take GCSE Music last year, out of a year group of 220 pupils.

Ofsted recognise the value of music, stating in a recent announcement that a new inspection framework will assess schools on whether they offer a broad, deep and rich curriculum which is promising news for the arts subjects.

There are fantastic examples of music-making outside the classroom too. Projects are being set up all over the country, taking place in all kinds of spaces from youth centres and libraries, to hospitals and housing estates.

An uncertain future

Even with the optimistic outlook for music education in the UK, there are notably threats which do need consideration to plan and manage. The government has announced rises in pay and pension contributions for teachers, but it is still unclear if there will be enough funding for this to include those centrally employed by music services – 4,900 music teachers, working both in and outside schools.

Further down the line, there’s next year’s government spending review, as well as Brexit to consider and the declining investment from local authorities. Current funding for music education hubs ends in 2020 and a Department for Education announcement on their future is awaited.

But the crisis narrative doesn’t reflect the complexity of the current situation. Now, more than ever, music education providers should be looking at narratives that strengthen the need for music in education to benefit the young musicians of today and tomorrow.

Going forward, music practitioners will need to alter their perception of how music education should be delivered. The landscape is changing, and those in the music education sector need to change too. A recent report commissioned by Arts Council England warned that organisations will need to become more experimental, adopt new organisational practices and foster a sophisticated array of cross-sector partnerships.

Closing conclusion 

Music education in England (and the wider UK) is miles ahead of most other developed countries. But this doesn’t mean we should halt or hesitate. It’s time for greater cohesion, honest reflection and a dialogue that focuses not on rhetoric but on solutions.

Music education ‘must move into 21st century’ or risk failing young musicians

Music education must evolve to fit the needs of the 21st century or risk failing generations of young talent, a new report has warned.

There are “huge disparities” in provision of music lessons between schools and a failure to recognise how young people engage with music, according to The Music Commission. who published the report.

The report, entitled Returning our Ambitions for Music Learning, comes as a result of an 18-month inquiry chaired by Sir Nicholas Kenyon, who is the managing director of arts centre the Barbican and a former controller of the BBC Proms.

It argues that young people from all backgrounds can achieve their musical potential by forging better connections between schools, music teachers and publicly funded music organisations in the community.

Music education

The Music Commission warned that the delivery of music education would have to change to halt falling music student numbers.

Other recommendations include universal free school-based music tuition, a stipulation that schools can only be classed as ‘outstanding’ if they have a broad cultural programme, and initiatives to get young people involved in the planning of music organisations’ work.

Sir Nicholas said: “There is a host of pressures we understand on schools to meet targets and achieve results.”

“But there’s a growing understanding that this is not enough. Part of this is about funding and connecting young people with the opportunities there are to progress, but we have got to do more to move music education into the 21st century.”

The report also argues that music is “central for creating skills for a modern economy and society”, according to a statement from The Music Commission.

The music industry generates “significant economic value” but education in the art form also improves confidence and broader academic attainment among pupils”, it added.

Sir Nicholas said: “Every young person should be supported to achieve their musical potential, whatever their background.”

“This is a basic issue of equality of opportunity. There is some great practice out there, especially in the early years, as we’ve shown that we can start them on this journey.”

“The problem is that too often we are then failing them – and ourselves – by not supporting them to progress and realise the personal, creative and economic benefits of the initial investment that we all make”.

A spokesman for the Department for Education (Dfe) said they are currently working with music groups to “refresh” the approach to music education, adding “We want all pupils to have the opportunity to study music at school.”

He continued: “This is why the subject is compulsory in the National Curriculum from the age of five up to 14. We are also putting more money into arts education programmes than any subject other than PE – nearly half a billion pounds to fund a range of music and cultural programmes between 2016 and 2020.”

Key findings from The Music Commission report

Read the summary of findings from The Music Commission report here.

Tickets for BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend Sell Out In 2 Hours

Tickets for the widely anticipated Big Weekend concerts at Stuart Park have sold out in less than 2 hours.

The two day event will see huge names in the music industry travel to Middlesbrough in May. Stars already billed to appear include Miley Cyrus, Little Mix, Mumford and Sons and Rita Ora.

Priced at £18.50 a ticket per day, people were given the option of selecting one day over the other or opt for both days for double the price. Unfortunately, many underestimated the speed at which tickets would sell out.

Tickets went on sale on Thursday evening at 5pm but rapidly sold out with all 64,000 tickets selling in less than 2 hours. Teessiders had priority, with those living within Middlesbrough having access to half of the tickets before a further 35% of the remaining tickets were made available to those residing in Stockton, Redcar Darlington and Hartlepool. The rest of the tickets were subsequently were opened up to the rest of the UK.

Ticketmaster reported that tickets available for Middlesbrough sold out in 90 minutes, tickets sold our in an hour for the surrounding areas and just 40 minutes for the remainder of tickets available nationwide.

Many were left frustrated as the website crashed multiple times as people who were in-line for being allocated tickets. Others experienced lags on the server, resulting in many who had reached the payment screen being pushed back to the ticket options page.

One disgruntled fan wrote: “I would like to complain about how bad the sale of the tickets was. I was put in the queue for over one hour and tickets had sold out. How can you be in a queue for something and not be able to buy?”

The lucky ones who secured tickets to the major event on Teesside expressed their delight and excitement. One Facebook user posted onto the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend’s page: “Thank you, got myself and my daughter tickets to both days. We are ecstatic!”

Another posted: “Just cancelled our holiday so we could attend the concerts. This will be the highlight of our year.”

Radio 1 responded following the tickets selling out:

Radio 1 Big Weekend takes place on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th May. The full list of performers attending the concerts is available on the BBC Radio 1 website

Former TVMS Pupil Talks Helping the Homeless and Opera Singing

A former pupil of TVMS has been lavished with praise in the press recently for her work with asylum seekers and the homeless. Emily Smith, an opera singer who initially received lessons from Tees Valley Music Service in 1997, has been working with MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) and conducting the Middlesbrough Homeless Choir. Onlookers stop to listen, overwhelmed by the impressive sound, as the voices prepare for a concert as part of the Streetwise Opera project.

Streetwise is an award-winning charity that helps people who are, or have been, homeless to stage operas, and singer Emily is readying them for a concert in Middlesbrough Town Hall. With her husband, tenor singer David Pisaro, Emily conducts a choir of asylum seekers at the Middlesbrough Institute for Modern Art for the Methodist Asylum Project (MAP).

Emily Smith has worked with many disadvantaged people in Middlesbrough.

“Asylum seekers are so often vilified”, Emily says. “They are people who fled their homes to save their lives. They enrich the group with the music they bring. Many are professionals and people with skills who would be an asset to this country. I want their music and voices to be heard”.

Emily, who is one of the teachers at this month’s Stokesley Song Fest, is passionate about the positive effect music can have on people’s lives. Ms Smith continued: “I always work to a high level but we have fun, and the atmosphere is supportive and inclusive,” she says. “We look at common and relevant themes within the opera stories, and they often put their own lyrics to the music. During MAP sessions, we work with different languages of the people we teach. They share music from their own countries, which enriches the experience, and we hope that our sessions bring a moment of peace in their own difficult lives.”

Emily has always had a passion for music. Her family are musical, her music teacher (Mr Lewis) supported her to achieving a Grade 8 in piano, singing and cello, before going to study at the Guildhall School of Music in London, where she met David. After two years working in London, they decided to move back up to the North East so they could work in a less competitive and crowded part of the country. They quickly set up the Sage’s Sing Up project, where Emily traveled around primary schools, encouraging teachers to set up school choirs.

Speaking to the Darlington & Stockton Times, she said she wanted to bring the experience of singing to places where there isn’t much music as well as making the lives of those less fortunate better. She taught opera to people with learning difficulties which eventually culminated with a massive concert at Bridlington Spa, written by Lee Hall, the writer of Billy Elliot.

Emily, with her husband, leading the Middlesbrough Homeless Choir at MIMA.

Emily says there are no obstacles to prevent people from singing. ” Language is not a barrier,” she says. “Three times a year I work in Spain. I travel around the main cities in Southern Spain auditioning students for youth choirs. We worked with both the youth choirs and children’s choirs of Andalusia, as well as performing in concerts and recitals ourselves.”

She wants to expand her work with asylum seekers and homeless people and recently received a message from one of the MAP asylum seekers. It read: “The singing sessions at MAP are not just the best thing I have done since coming to the UK, but the best thing I have done in my life.”

The homeless and asylum-seeking choirs performed at Middlesbrough Town Hall on Friday 1st March at 7PM on an evening that was filled with joyful and refreshing music which cut through the stuffiness of traditional opera. It also included the premiere of After the Storm, an opera piece created by composer Hayley Jenkins. Emily was also one of the teachers at Stokesley Song Fest over the weekend of 15-17 February.

Sixteen Benefits Of Playing An Instrument

Choosing to play an instrument is the beginning of a journey. One that is exciting, but often filled with struggle and hard work. It will require you to take in new information and master new skills.

Listed below are some of the many benefits of playing an instrument. Many people who take up learning a musical instrument frequently get discouraged due to the level of dedication and time commitment it takes therefore it’s important to keep the benefits in mind.

Reduces stress

A study, published by The National Center for Biotechnology Information, researched into how effective music was in lowering stress. The test involve putting dozens of volunteers into three groups and exposed to different stimulus. Group 1 – relaxing music, Group 2 – the sound of rippling water and Group 3 – resting with no sound present. After, their stress indicators were measured. The study showed that those who listened to relaxing music had significantly lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels than those in the other two groups.

Life is often stressful so listening to music can be a way to relax and take your mind away from the complexities of day to day life.

Strengthens patience and perseverance

The process to play an instrument is not always easy. It doesn’t just involve expanding your mind but adapting your body as well. You will have to learn fingerings and/or chord shapes, develop techniques, and memorize new information. Slowly, with consistant practice, you will find yourself getting better. With each new milestone you gain a small reward and a fresh incentive to continue your musical journey. Making music requires patience. Instead of getting immediate results, you will have to persevere.

Develops appreciation for music

You don’t have to become Mozart to reap the benefits of music. You can gain many of these benefits by just learning the basics. Through going through a variety of pieces, you will find different composers, styles and genres of music that suits your particular tastes. Not only does this cause you to be more well-versed in music, but it also leads to a higher appreciation of the skill.

There are so many genres and styles of music to experiment with.

According to Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, unless you have taken part in music education, or in learning a musical instrument, you have no real basis for assessing the quality of a piece of music.

Cultivates creativity

At its core, music is an art form.

Music is a language, and the more “words” you learn the more you will be able to say. You will soon find yourself wanting to apply the knowledge you’ve already gained to create music of your own by using different chord arrangements and so on. Music is not just about knowing how to play specific songs, it is about expressing emotion through sound. Whether it’s just playing your own version of a song, or creating an entirely new one, learning how to play an instrument enables you to use your creativity to say something original.

Utilities every part of the brain

Science has shown that musical training can change brain structure and function for the better. It can also improve long-term memory and lead to better brain development for those who start at a young age.

Furthermore, brain scans have been able to identify the difference in brain structure between musicians and non-musicans. Most notably, the corpus collosum, a massive bundle of nerve fibres connecting the two sides of the brain, is larger in musicians. Also, the areas improving movement, hearing and memory abilities appear to be larger in long-term players.

Interestingly, even brief periods of musical training can have long-lasting benefits. Increases in reading, memory capacity and happiness were also outlined in the report, conducted by the University of Westminster.

Strengthens your immune system

While investigating the effects of music, physiologists and neuroscientists Daniel J. Levitin and Mona Lisa Chanda found that listening to music and playing an instrument benefited the immune system. These activities lead to the manufacturing of the antibody immunoglobulin-A,  (IgA) which kills viruses.

Improves time-management skills

Adding learning an instrument into an already busy schedule can be challenging, especially if you want to become an advanced player. The desire to get better will help you to schedule in practice during your already busy day. You also learn the life skill of how to waste less time and to use your time wisely.

Increase memory capacity

Way back in 2003, ABC Science included a study conducted amongst school students, half of whom had been musically trained, and half who had not. The test involved reading a list of words to the students and asking them to recall the words after a period of time had elapsed. The study found that the boys who had been musically trained had a significantly better verbal memory than the boys who had not. In addition, the more musical training they had, the more words they were able to remember.

Allows you to share with others

Once people know you can play a musical instrument, they will want to hear you play. Perhaps unsurprising to hear, the ability to play a musical instrument is not commonplace and most family circles do not have that mother or father, brother or sister, who can competently play aninstrument, let alone perform in front of a group of people.

So once you learn how to effectively play an instrument, not only do you have the ability to Young violinist performing to a crowd of peopleshare your gift with family and friends, you can bless those at nursing homes, church, large family gatherings, and on special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas’. The list is endless!

Increases emotional perception

In 2009, the European Journal of Science investigated the relationship between musical training and the processing of vocal emotion. They found that those who were musically trained better detected vocal emotions. This makes sense because there are many “emotions” conveyed through music. For example, excitement is produced through dynamics that get progressively louder and higher pitched. Being exposed to this tonal variance in music can help you to not just detect the emotions of music but the emotions behind people’s words.

Evolves personal discipline 

No one can learn to play an instrument overnight. Making music requires work and a consistent investment in time and effort. As they say, practice makes perfect. Discipline is necessary to go through the process of consistent, focused practice, especially with all the distractions that are so apparent in modern day life. This discipline can carry over into other aspects of your life, elevating the quality of the life you live.

Enlarges the brain

Another study initially carried out in 2003 from the Journal of Neuroscience compared the brains of professional musicians, amateur musicians and non-musicians. The study found an increase in grey matter in many areas of the brain of professional musicians. Grey matter includes most of the brain’s neuronal cell bodies. This type of matter includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, speech, decision making and self control.

The study found that amateur musicians had less grey matter in those areas, and the non-musicians had the least gray matter. According to Via Radiology, grey matter provides us with information processing power. The more advanced you are in music the larger volume of grey matter you have in your brain.

Builds confidence

The process of learning music leads to you playing in front of other people. This could include playing in front of your teacher, playing at a seasonal recital or playing for curious family and friends. This fosters the valuable expertise and grit necessary to confidently hold it together when other people are watching. The confidence instilled from your experiences with performing to large crowds will be carried over to all other areas of your life.

Benefits spelling and IQ in children

The National Center for Biotechnology Information directed a study involving a group of German elementary students to study the effects of musical training. they compared three groups: those who played an instrument, those who didn’t play an instrument, and those who didn’t play an instrument but had a member of the family who did. They found that the non-verbal IQ of those who played an instrument was the highest. In addition, those who played an instrument had the fewest spelling mistakes; likely due to the precision needed to learn music.

Perhaps playing an instrument is the perfect solution for a child who is struggling in school!

Decreases age related hearing loss

Hearing musicIn a study performed by the then doctoral student Benjamin Zendal and Dr. Claude Alain, participants were instructed to attentively listen to complex sounds. It was found that the older musicians auditory cortices responded the same as the younger participants and at a higher functionality than the older non-musicians, who had age-related hindrances. This is ironic because many musicians experience hearing loss from the loud music they are a part of, but if you protect your ears from the “loudness” of music, music can actually benefit your hearing.

Speeds up reaction times

A study by Dr.Simon Landry at a Canadian university lead a study comparing the reaction times of musicians who had at least 7 years of training with non-musicians. Dr. Simon had the participating students place one hand on a mouse, the other on a vibrotactile device, and placed a speaker in front of them. If the students felt a vibration from the vibrotactile device, or heard a sound from the speaker, or sensed both happening at the same time, they were instructed to click the mouse. The results demonstrated that the musicians had significantly faster reaction times all three ways they were stimulated.

In summary…

Above everything else, music makes you happy! There are few pleasures in this world that can be compared to the high you feel from sitting down with your own instrument and letting your soul flow through your body and out across the freeing flowing chords of a musical piece. And this is what underpins every benefit of learning to play an instrument: it’s enjoyable.

And if it’s enjoyable chances are you’re going to stick with it.

Full Credit
This report was originally published by Mike Levitsky from Drums and Guitar.