Last night, we attended a guitar concert performed by the students at my children’s school. Over the past few years, I have been to a number of these events and every time I hear the advanced students from the guitar program play, I am amazed by their talent. And what’s even more amazing is that most of the students didn’t start playing the guitar until they began the school program.
As impressive as this is, their success did not come easily. As with anything, to achieve that high a level of proficiency required investing many hours of work over many years.
The guitar program is intense. It runs for seven years during which the students play nearly every day. Those that graduate from the program have the background to become professional musicians if that interests them.
Although many of the students have the skill and the talent, most do not pursue careers in music. Instead, the students go on to achieve great things in other areas – business, medicine, law, science.
But my question is, does learning to play an instrument provide benefits beyond the music? And can those same benefits be achieved by learning to play an instrument later in life? Such as when we reach financial independence and retirement?
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence on the benefits of learning to play an instrument. And while most of the discussion is geared toward the benefits for children, a 2011 study found,
that musicians’ brains are highly developed in a way that makes the musicians alert, interested in learning, disposed to see the whole picture, calm, and playful. The same traits have previously been found among world-class athletes, top-level managers, and individuals who practice transcendental meditation.”
While I’m not sure if learning to play an instrument provides all the cognitive benefits that the studies indicate, I do know that it can be a great way to enhance your free time once you achieve financial independence and retirement.
Might be time for me to pick up an instrument.
Financial Slackers, have you thought about learning to play an instrument? Do you already know how? What instrument do you play or do you want to learn to play?