Now that the semester is getting to be in full swing, some of us may find our brains need a re-boot after a summer of fun (or work). The last thing you want to do is learn something else, but exercising your musical muscle may be just the thing to get you back on track.
Learning an instrument can provide a mental break from challenging classes. The basics give enough challenge to keep you interested but are obtainable enough to feel like you’re actually accomplishing something. Zach Humphreys, who works at Music Mart, says that instrument choice is key to success.
“Keyboard and guitar seem to be the best grounding instruments as far as theory goes,” Humphreys says. “And it’s easy to build off those instruments for more challenges.”
Humphreys suggests keyboard and guitar for beginners but novices can either up the challenge level with those instruments or choose something less conventional like a sitar or mandolin.
Music can also increase concentration skills since it requires reading sheet music, while simultaneously playing the instrument. While you’re immersed in a world of “Heart and Soul,” it’s a great opportunity to relax and unwind from the day at a pace you set.
But classes can be boring already so wouldn’t the repetition of basic music skills be mind-numbingly dull too? Humphreys says that practice is important but catering it to your interests will keep you going.
“Practice. Practice as much as you can. But shake it up too,” he says. “Focus on drills like scales or whatever one day then learn a song the next time. It’s a lot more fun if it’s something you actually want to do.”
Learning an instrument can become your musical mental oasis in a sea of exams, clubs, classes and homework. Once you learn your scales and your arpeggios, you’ll be just like an ‘Aristocat’ and have a new lifelong skill.
Photo by Alex Vavreck