How playing an instrument can help improve youngsters' lives

Yamaha is helping to raise awareness of the mental health benefits music can have

Thursday 24 October 2019 14:54 BST

With increasing pressure placed on young people, it can be hard to know how to help them cope with the demands of modern life. But learning to play a musical instrument has been shown to help mental – along with physical – health, by reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

In fact, it has such a profound influence on mood that it can increase vigour, excitement and happiness, while reducing depression, tension, fatigue, anger and confusion.

This is encouraging news when you consider that almost 60 per cent of 11-19-year-olds have experienced a mental health issue, or are close to someone who has, according to new research by charity Mind.

While we’d all love to be impresarios, the good news is that skill level doesn’t seem to affect the benefit gained from playing an instrument – simply playing for a few minutes whenever possible can help improve mental health.

Yamaha creates musical instruments that not only fit easily into family life, but also help children and teenagers to express their feelings, communicate, build confidence and make themselves heard. Here, Yamaha reveals why it can be so beneficial...

Yamaha: mental health and music

A workout for the brain

Playing an instrument helps improve mental performance and memory. With regular practise, motor skills and coordination will be refined, while the part of the brain responsible for concentration will get a workout too.

The importance of relaxation

It’s vital that children and teenagers find ways to allow their mind and body to switch off to help them avoid feeling overwhelmed. Playing an instrument is a great solution – and it can even help clear the mind between study sessions, making learning more effective.

Working through emotions

Music is also an effective way for children and teenagers to process feelings and emotions. It can provide a creative outlet to talk about issues and communicate with others. Some youngsters may find it easier to work through their feelings by writing songs, or by sharing and playing music.

Boosting confidence

Low self-esteem can cause depression and anxiety, but the confidence boost that comes with learning a new skill, such as playing an instrument, can provide a great sense of achievement – as can setting and achieving realistic goals.

Physical exercise

Playing an instrument increases physical activity, which in turn releases depression-busting endorphins. Most instruments require the use of arm and back muscles, while vigorously playing the drums is a great cardio workout.

Making new friends

Having close friends and a good social network is vitally important, and playing in a band, orchestra or choir is a great way to meet like-minded people and make new friends.

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