Playing an Instrument Is More Than a Hobby


Lukas Werner

Playing an instrument is therapeutic, as it takes my focus away from my thoughts.

Maggie Crimmins, Staff Reporter

When I was around eight years old, I decided to start playing flute because my mom had played in high school, and, at that point in my life, I aspired to be like my mom when I grew up, as many young kids do. 

I fell in love with the concept of music. I started with beginner lessons, joined a beginner band, and then moved on to more advanced lessons. Finally, I began playing in a jazz band when I was ten years old. 

Around the age of twelve, I moved from flute to playing piano. While I used to be irked by the classical pieces my teacher selected for me, I grew to love the structure associated with it a structure not only present in music, but also in mathematics.

Studies show that playing an instrument is extremely beneficial to students’ grades, especially in mathematics, helping students develop a better understanding of math, and raising scores by as much as 20% for some students. 

A study conducted by Trakya University showed that mathematics was the most difficult subject for students in grades four through seven. Many friends I grew up with can attest to this, as math was always a point of struggle for kids in my elementary school.

Because music is so focused on rhythm, children who study music from a young age are shown to have a deeper understanding of decimals and fractions. 

To learn a classical piano piece takes hours of practice, meticulous attention to rhythms, and a focused mindset. Sometimes the page is a jumble of little notes, seemingly more covered in ink than not, and I have to slow my head down and begin finding the patterns present that will make playing the piece much easier. 

This concept transfers over to school, as well. 

The ability to spend hours learning something and perfecting it can teach children to dedicate themselves to a hobby, passion, or assignment and focus for extended periods of time, both crucial skills to success in mathematics and school in general.

Besides the benefits of playing an instrument provided in school, music can also provide a brief break at times. A typical night of homework for me ranges from 15 minutes to six hours. On nights where homework feels overwhelming, I take breaks to play piano.

Not only do these breaks help me to step away from schoolwork for a few minutes, but they act as a mental reset. I can allow myself to take my focus from school and place it elsewhere, and then return to my schoolwork with a fresh perspective on whatever I was working on.

Music has acted as meditation, release of emotion, and a sort of education to me. 

I do not think I would have the same grades I do without music, which have allowed me to focus my head on one thing at a time, provided me with a drive for perfection, and given me a way of releasing stress and anxiety. 

As someone whose mind is always busy, playing instruments has been one of the only things that truly takes my focus away from my own thoughts, and places it on creating something.

I have found that, for me, playing instruments is a sort of therapy, a lesson on applying focus, and extremely beneficial to my schoolwork. 

For those who have yet to pick up an instrument, I urge you to find or make time in your life to incorporate music, whether that be teaching yourself to play an instrument, watching YouTube videos on how to read music, or taking lessons. The benefits of music are worth the extra time.