There are a wide variety of reasons to make music, and the exact combination of reasons may be different for each person. Here are some of the most common!
1. Self-Expression – Making music is a way to express emotions and to process events around us. Singing and/or playing familiar pieces can provide an emotional outlet, or creating a piece can share one’s individual perspective.
2. Emotional Regulation – Music can inspire confidence, instill calm, assist with attention, and express joy or sadness. Studies have found that playing or singing music can lower anxiety and the levels of stress hormones in the brain.
3. Brain Benefits – Studying music utilizes numerous areas and processes in the brain and improves the connections between the two hemispheres. For example, those who study music for more than a year have greater white and gray matter density in the corpus callosum, which connects the two halves of the brain. Additionally, regions of sound processing, logical anticipation, memory, motor control, and visual-spatial reasoning show stronger connections to other regions or greater activation during different tasks.
4. Physical Benefits – Music requires careful use of the body, for example the fine motor skills of playing an instrument or the breathing techniques of singing. Practice and repetition can assist with development of these skills.
5. Skills Development – Studying music encourages perseverance, self-reflection and analysis, teamwork, problem-solving, creativity, focus, confidence, listening skills, and the ability to accept constructive criticism. These are beneficial and transferable to many areas of life.
6. But most importantly, FUN – Making music is enjoyable! Whether it’s an instrument, voice, or composing, creating music is entertaining and exciting and provides a sense of accomplishment with each new skill or piece mastered!