Why learn an instrument?

Benefits of learning a musical instrument

Learning any new skill is hard work, especially when it involves a musical instrument.  Budding musicians must devote hours to independent practise, learn how to fix mistakes and get used to the pressure of performing – but it is also highly rewarding!

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This term the number of pupils participating in instrumental lessons has almost doubled with almost 100 pupils now on the instrumental register.  Pupils in KS4 receive funded tuition on their first instrument as part of the Rockschool Music Performance course, but there also been a dramatic increase in pupils choosing to start learning in Y7 and 8 with 18 pupils participating in beginner groups on brass, clarinet and violin.  This will eventually develop into our very own Clifton Orchestra!

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Why learn an instrument?

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 The vast benefits of learning a musical instrument have been consistently demonstrated in many scientific studies – it truly is one of the most rewarding activities on the planet.  Musicians not only enjoy their craft, it also develops an abundance of transferable skills including confidence, patience, resilience and communication.  It develops discipline and dedication as days, weeks and months can go by without noticing any real improvement.  It takes a real strength of character to make it through the initial frustrating stages of learning an instrument.  It can be painful, particularly when trying to force your fingers to learn new patterns on the piano or learning barre chords on the guitar.  Indeed, plenty of people fancy the idea of learning an instrument and think they should be making fantastic progress after just a few lessons only to become disheartened when they don’t see instant results.   If young players are willing to dedicate their time to regular practice so they can get through the difficult early stages of learning their first instrument, then they are showing true resilience and perseverance and setting themselves up for a lifetime of rewarding musical experiences.

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Developing as a musician also has a positive impact on learning in other subjects.  Not only does playing an instrument focus the mind and develop confidence, it also develops physical dexterity, fine motor skills and coordination.  Muscle memory develops over time, increasing strength and agility – you only have to watch a guitarist’s fingers flying over the fretboard or a drummer during a complicated solo to be in awe of the hours of concentrated practise they have dedicated to their art.  Musicians must also be able to stay focused throughout a whole piece of music – it only takes a split-second of daydreaming to completely lose track of where you are.  Concentration and confidence will increase as technical skills improve which will also impact in other areas of life as well.

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Perhaps most important of all, playing an instrument makes you happy.  It is exciting playing a riff at 100 miles an hour with a band and hugely rewarding that the hours of practise have paid off.  Playing can also calm you when you’re angry and pick you up when you’re feeling down.  It also develops community by allowing people from different cultures to communicate through a universal language.

For more information on instrumental lessons at Clifton, please contact Mrs Maud.