Why is playing an instrument enjoyable?

Playing an instrument is not just a hobby, it’s an experience that brings joy, fulfillment, and personal growth. From the very first note, the magic of music takes over and it’s hard not to get hooked. But why is playing an instrument so enjoyable? It’s a question that has puzzled many, but the answer lies in the way it engages our senses, our emotions, and our minds. Whether it’s the sound of a guitar, the rhythm of a drum, or the melody of a piano, each instrument has its own unique charm that can evoke different emotions and memories. In this article, we’ll explore the many reasons why playing an instrument is such a delightful experience and how it can enrich our lives in ways we never thought possible. So, grab your instrument of choice and let’s dive into the world of music!

Quick Answer:
Playing an instrument is enjoyable because it allows individuals to express themselves creatively and emotionally. It also provides a sense of accomplishment and pride in creating music. Additionally, playing an instrument can be a social activity, allowing individuals to connect with others who share a common interest. Furthermore, playing an instrument has been shown to have numerous physical and mental health benefits, such as reducing stress and anxiety, improving cognitive function, and enhancing memory and attention. Overall, playing an instrument can be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience that brings a sense of joy and satisfaction to one’s life.

Benefits of playing an instrument

Improves cognitive abilities

Enhances memory

  • Playing an instrument requires the player to remember musical notes, chords, and rhythms. This repetitive process of memorizing musical information has been shown to improve general memory function.
  • Research has also found that playing an instrument can help in the development of both musical memory and verbal memory.

Boosts creativity

  • Playing an instrument can also improve problem-solving skills, as musicians often have to think creatively to overcome challenges they encounter while learning and performing music.
  • Furthermore, playing an instrument can enhance self-expression, allowing individuals to express themselves in unique and personal ways through music.

By playing an instrument, individuals can enjoy these cognitive benefits and improve their overall brain function.

Reduces stress and anxiety

Relaxation through music

Music has a natural ability to calm the mind and reduce stress levels. According to a study published in the Journal of Music Therapy, listening to music can help to lower cortisol levels, which is a hormone that is associated with stress. In addition, playing an instrument can also have a calming effect on the mind and body. This is because the act of playing an instrument requires focus and concentration, which can help to distract from any worries or anxieties.

Listening to music

Listening to music has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. It can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and can even improve overall mood. The type of music that is most effective for reducing stress may vary depending on the individual, but studies have shown that classical music, nature sounds, and music with a slow tempo can be particularly effective.

Playing music

Playing an instrument has also been shown to have a number of benefits for mental health. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and can even improve cognitive function. Playing an instrument requires focus and concentration, which can help to improve attention and memory. Additionally, playing an instrument can be a creative outlet, which can help to boost self-esteem and reduce feelings of boredom or frustration.

Physical responses to music

Music can also have a physical impact on the body. It can lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, and even alleviate physical pain. According to a study published in the journal Pain, listening to music can be an effective pain management tool, particularly for those with chronic pain. Additionally, playing an instrument can also have physical benefits, as it can help to improve posture, coordination, and even lung function.

Increases academic performance

Enhances focus and attention

Playing an instrument can improve a student’s ability to focus and pay attention. This is because playing an instrument requires a high level of concentration and coordination. The act of learning and practicing an instrument can help develop the brain’s ability to focus and filter out distractions.

Active listening

Playing an instrument also requires active listening skills. Musicians must listen to the other musicians in their ensemble and adjust their own playing accordingly. This can help improve a student’s ability to listen and respond to others, which is an important skill in many areas of life.


Playing an instrument also involves multi-tasking, as musicians must coordinate their hands, eyes, and ears while playing. This can help improve a student’s ability to manage multiple tasks at once, which is a valuable skill in today’s fast-paced world.

Practice techniques

Playing an instrument also involves the development of effective practice techniques. Musicians must set goals, break down complex skills into smaller parts, and practice consistently over time. These skills can be applied to other areas of life, such as studying for exams or learning a new language.

In conclusion, playing an instrument can have a positive impact on a student’s academic performance by enhancing focus and attention, developing active listening skills, improving multi-tasking abilities, and teaching effective practice techniques.

Instruments to play


Acoustic vs. digital

The piano is one of the most popular instruments to play, and there are two main types of pianos available: acoustic and digital. Acoustic pianos are the traditional type of piano that have been around for centuries, while digital pianos are newer and use technology to replicate the sound of an acoustic piano.

Acoustic piano

An acoustic piano is a musical instrument that produces sound through strings and hammers. The strings are struck by hammers when the keys are pressed, and the sound is amplified by the piano’s body. Acoustic pianos are known for their rich, full sound and are preferred by many professional musicians.


One of the main advantages of playing an acoustic piano is the feeling of the keys under the fingers. Acoustic pianos have weighted keys, which means that the keys feel heavier at the bottom and lighter at the top, just like a real piano. This allows for a more authentic playing experience and can help players develop proper technique.


One disadvantage of acoustic pianos is that they require regular tuning, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Acoustic pianos also take up a lot of space and can be heavy, making them difficult to move.

Digital piano

A digital piano is a modern version of the acoustic piano that uses technology to replicate the sound of an acoustic piano. Digital pianos use samples of acoustic pianos to produce their sound, and many of them have a variety of different sounds available, such as electric pianos, organs, and orchestral instruments.

One advantage of digital pianos is that they do not require tuning, as the sound is produced electronically. Digital pianos are also typically more portable than acoustic pianos, making them easier to move and store.

One disadvantage of digital pianos is that they do not feel as authentic as acoustic pianos. The keys on digital pianos do not have the same weight and resistance as acoustic pianos, which can make it more difficult to develop proper technique. Additionally, some digital pianos may not have the same range of sounds and features as acoustic pianos.

Suitable for different playing styles

Both acoustic and digital pianos are suitable for different playing styles. Acoustic pianos are preferred by many classical musicians and are often used in orchestral performances. Digital pianos, on the other hand, are often used in jazz and pop music, as they offer a wider range of sounds and features.

Classical music

Classical music is often played on acoustic pianos, as the rich, full sound of the instrument is well-suited to the style. Classical music often requires precise and technical playing, and the weighted keys of an acoustic piano can help players develop the necessary skills.

Playing techniques

There are several playing techniques used in classical music, such as legato playing, staccato playing, and pedal techniques. Legato playing involves playing notes smoothly and connected, while staccato playing involves playing notes short and detached. Pedal techniques involve using the pedals to change the sound of the piano, such as creating a deeper, richer sound or muting the strings.


There is a vast repertoire of classical music available for the piano, ranging from baroque to contemporary. Some famous classical pianists include Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, and Claude Debussy.

Jazz and blues

Jazz and blues are often played on digital pianos, as the instrument offers a wider range of sounds and features. Jazz and blues often involve improvisation and chord progressions, and the digital piano’s ability to change sounds and


Acoustic vs. electric

The guitar is one of the most popular instruments to play, and there are two main types: acoustic and electric.

Acoustic guitar

Acoustic guitars are the traditional type of guitar and are commonly used in various genres of music. They have a hollow body and produce sound through the vibration of strings.

  • Acoustic guitars are versatile and can be played in a variety of settings, from solo performances to group performances.
  • They are relatively affordable compared to other instruments.
  • They require less amplification, making them suitable for smaller venues or for playing at home.

  • Acoustic guitars are louder in volume, which may not be suitable for all settings.

  • They are heavier than electric guitars, which can make them uncomfortable to play for extended periods.

Electric guitar

Electric guitars are more modern and are designed to be amplified. They have a solid body and produce sound through an electronic pickup system.

  • Electric guitars are louder and have a more defined tone, making them suitable for larger venues or recording studios.
  • They are easier to play for extended periods due to their lighter weight.
  • They offer a wider range of sounds and effects, making them suitable for various genres of music.

  • Electric guitars are more expensive than acoustic guitars.

  • They require amplification, which can be inconvenient in some settings.

Suitable for different genres

Both acoustic and electric guitars are suitable for different genres of music.

Rock and pop

Rock and pop music often use electric guitars for their distinctive sound and versatility. In rock and pop music, guitarists typically play chords and riffs to support the rhythm section or to create a melody.

Chord structures

Guitarists in rock and pop music use various chord structures to create different moods and styles. Common chord progressions include major and minor chords, power chords, and suspended chords.

Rhythm and lead guitar techniques

Rhythm guitarists play chords to support the song’s melody, while lead guitarists play solos or melodic lines to complement the song. Techniques used by lead guitarists include string bending, tapping, and sweep picking.

Classical music often uses acoustic guitars for their warm and resonant sound. In classical music, guitarists typically play fingerpicking techniques to create complex melodies and harmonies.

Fingerpicking techniques

Fingerpicking techniques involve plucking individual strings with the fingers to create a specific melody or harmony. Classical guitarists use various fingerpicking techniques, including alternate-bass, tremolo, and arpeggio.

Music theory for guitar

Music theory is an essential aspect of playing the guitar, and it involves understanding the relationships between notes, chords, and scales. Classical guitarists study music theory to develop their understanding of the instrument and to improve their technical skills.


Acoustic vs. electronic

Acoustic drums
  • Provide a natural and authentic sound
  • Offer a wide range of tonal dynamics
  • Offer a physical connection to the instrument

  • Require more space and are heavier

  • Produce more noise and require more volume control
  • Can be more difficult to maintain and tune

Electronic drums

  • Easy to transport and set up
  • Offer a variety of sounds and programming options
  • Can be quieter to play

  • Lack the physical and tactile experience of acoustic drums

  • Require electricity or batteries to power
  • Can be more expensive than acoustic drums
Groove and rhythm
  • Provide a solid foundation for the music
  • Allow for a wide range of creative rhythmic patterns
  • Offer a sense of excitement and energy
Fills and solos
  • Offer opportunities for creative expression
  • Provide a chance to showcase technical skills
  • Add variety and interest to the music
Jazz and fusion
Swing and syncopation
  • Offer a chance to explore complex rhythms and timing
  • Provide a sense of musicality and feel
  • Allow for creative improvisation and exploration
Odd time signatures
  • Offer a chance to explore unconventional rhythms and patterns
  • Provide a sense of challenge and musical growth
  • Add a unique and interesting element to the music.

Personal experiences

Playing an instrument can be a highly enjoyable experience for many people. One of the reasons for this is the personal connection that individuals can make with their chosen instrument. Whether it’s the sound of a guitar, the rhythm of a drum, or the melody of a violin, each instrument has its own unique personality that can be brought to life through the hands of a skilled player.

Personal experiences play a significant role in why playing an instrument can be enjoyable. For some, it may be a way to express themselves creatively or to connect with a beloved hobby. Others may find joy in the sense of accomplishment that comes with learning a new skill or mastering a difficult piece of music.

Additionally, playing an instrument can provide a sense of escape from the stresses of daily life. It can be a form of meditation, allowing individuals to fully immerse themselves in the present moment and lose themselves in the music. This can lead to a greater sense of well-being and happiness, making it a valuable tool for mental health.

Ultimately, the enjoyment of playing an instrument is highly subjective and can vary greatly from person to person. Whether it’s the thrill of performing in front of an audience or the simple pleasure of playing for oneself, the personal experiences that come with playing an instrument can bring a wealth of joy and fulfillment to those who take up the instrument.

Inspiration for others

Playing an instrument can be a source of inspiration for others. When someone picks up an instrument and starts playing, they are creating music that can inspire and move others. Whether it’s a solo performance or playing in a band, the music created can evoke emotions and connect with people on a deep level.

Additionally, seeing someone else play an instrument can be inspiring and motivating for others to take up the instrument themselves. Seeing the joy and passion in someone’s playing can spark a desire in others to learn and create their own music. This can lead to a chain reaction of people picking up instruments and creating music, which can bring people together and build communities.

Moreover, playing an instrument can also inspire creativity in other areas of life. The discipline and focus required to learn and play an instrument can translate to other areas, such as art, writing, or problem-solving. The process of creating music can also foster a sense of self-expression and self-discovery, which can be beneficial for personal growth and development.

Overall, playing an instrument can have a positive impact on others by inspiring creativity, fostering a sense of community, and connecting people through music.

Final thoughts

Playing an instrument can be a deeply rewarding experience, and the benefits of doing so extend far beyond simply producing music. In fact, the act of playing an instrument has been shown to have a positive impact on both physical and mental health. Here are some final thoughts on why playing an instrument can be so enjoyable:

  • Personal expression: Playing an instrument allows individuals to express themselves in a unique and personal way. Each person’s playing style is different, and this can be a reflection of their personality, emotions, and experiences. This form of self-expression can be a powerful tool for creativity and self-discovery.
  • Mental stimulation: Playing an instrument requires focus, concentration, and problem-solving skills. This mental stimulation can help to keep the brain active and improve cognitive function. Research has also shown that playing an instrument can have a positive impact on memory, attention, and spatial reasoning.
  • Physical benefits: Playing an instrument can have physical benefits as well. For example, playing the piano or the guitar can help to improve hand-eye coordination, while playing the drums can improve rhythm and timing. Additionally, playing an instrument can help to reduce stress and anxiety, as it provides an outlet for emotional expression.
  • Social connections: Playing an instrument can also provide opportunities for social connections. Whether it’s playing in a band, joining a music group, or simply playing with friends, playing an instrument can help to build relationships and create a sense of community.

Overall, playing an instrument can be a fun and rewarding experience that offers a wide range of benefits. Whether you’re looking to express yourself creatively, challenge your mind, or connect with others, playing an instrument can be a great way to do so.


1. What are the benefits of playing an instrument?

Playing an instrument has many benefits. It can improve your cognitive abilities, enhance your creativity, and increase your overall brain function. It can also provide a sense of accomplishment and self-expression, as well as improve your memory and fine motor skills.

2. How does playing an instrument affect the brain?

Playing an instrument has been shown to increase the size and connectivity of various regions in the brain, including those responsible for motor control, perception, and memory. It can also enhance the development of new neural connections and promote the growth of new neurons. Additionally, playing an instrument has been linked to reducing stress and anxiety, and can even help to delay age-related cognitive decline.

3. Is playing an instrument difficult to learn?

The difficulty of learning to play an instrument can vary depending on the individual and the instrument itself. Some instruments, such as the piano or guitar, are generally considered easier to learn than others, such as the violin or cello. However, with dedication and practice, anyone can learn to play an instrument, regardless of their age or previous musical experience.

4. How much time and effort is required to become proficient at playing an instrument?

Becoming proficient at playing an instrument requires a significant amount of time and effort. It typically takes several years of consistent practice and dedication to achieve a high level of skill. The amount of time required can vary depending on the individual and their learning style, but it is generally recommended to practice for at least a few hours each day.

5. What are some common challenges when learning to play an instrument?

Learning to play an instrument can be challenging in many ways. Some common challenges include developing proper technique, learning to read sheet music, and developing good muscle memory. Additionally, it can be difficult to stay motivated and consistent with practice, especially for beginners. However, with patience and perseverance, these challenges can be overcome.

How playing an instrument benefits your brain – Anita Collins

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