Listening to music is often viewed as a relaxing activity, but learning how to play an instrument has even more benefits besides relieving stress. Learning to play the violin, one of the most common instruments for beginning music students, has added benefits that, regardless of the student’s level, will help them succeed in other areas, such as cognitive functions, motor skills, memory, and discipline. In Houston, violin lessons are a good place to start for those interested in music.
One of the benefits of playing the violin is the stress-relieving effects. Listening to music lowers the stress hormone, cortisol, and also helps lower blood pressure, but playing the violin, or any musical instrument, will increases these benefits. Playing the violin also provides an emotional and creative outlet which also works to lower stress and improve mood. With less stress and a more positive mood, students are often more productive in other areas of life.
Playing the violin is a very physical activity that heavily relies on the use of fine motor skills, good posture, and coordination. Lessons with Houston violin teachers will help develop fine motor skills, especially in younger students. The repetition and flexibility exercises increase finger strength and dexterity. In addition, violin lessons often focus on improving posture through learning how to stand and sit properly while playing and might include stretches that work to relieve tension in both the large and small muscles in the arms and back. These stretches will also relieve tension when performing more common activities, such as driving or typing.
Playing the violin involves coordination between the hands. Both hands are involved with very different tasks. The left hand should be light and agile, pushing the strings down at very specific places to play the correct notes and to play them in tune. The right hand controls the weight, speed, and contact point of the bow. Lessons will teach students how to balance both tasks to create music. This ability to perform two tasks at once will also carry over into other activities, including sports and daily activities.
Learning to play the violin improves cognitive function in multiple ways. Playing the violin activates large portions of the brain, resulting in faster processing, increased memory, and protects against memory-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Playing the violin increases brain development, especially in the prefrontal cortex, the part that aids in focus and problem solving. These effects have the greatest impact in younger students, but students of all ages will reap the cognitive benefits of violin lessons.
Violin lessons also include different aspects of memory, both from memorizing pieces and from the muscle memory needed to find the correct notes. Memorizing pieces improves brain function and can also help protect the brain against memory-related diseases. Also, finding the notes on the fingerboard requires accurate muscle memory. This muscle memory is built by repetition and attention to detail. Because of repetition, neural pathways develop with accurate and consistent practice, forming muscle memory which can last for years. The neural pathways created through playing violin are often complex and increase brain function in both processing and memory parts of the brain.
One of the life skills you can learn in violin lessons is problem solving. The problem-solving skills that develop from taking violin lessons also improves brain function and processing. Students will learn how to solve problems found in new pieces and new techniques. The methods used to find the problem and how to fix it are easily transferred to other areas in the student’s life. This process helps students learn faster, especially in academic settings. Students who take violin lessons often perform better in school because of these problem-solving skills and from pattern recognition skills. Music is made of different patterns, ranging from basic note patterns, to more complex ideas such as themes and chord progressions. Students who study these patterns perform better in school and usually achieve higher scores on standardized tests. For adults taking violin lessons for the first time, these problem-solving skills will help keep the brain sharp and the methods used in violin lessons can be applied to solve problems at work and daily life.
If your child is interested in taking up music lessons, we could help set you up with a wide array of teachers. They can either come to your home to teach or can also provide online music lessons. Our virtual music lessons are taught by local music teachers who plan their lessons to suit your child.
By Abigail Bracewell