Benefits of Learning an Instrument

Believe it or not, 36+ years in the music field and I almost didn’t join band in 6th grade! Maybe I didn’t know the benefits, or maybe I was just too young to care. Learning a musical instrument offers a wide range of benefits that extend beyond simply acquiring a new skill. The most important reason is that it’s fun and cool. Here are some other reasons why learning an instrument is important:

Your Brain

 Learning to play an instrument engages various parts of the brain, including memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. It has been linked to enhanced cognitive abilities, such as improved memory, better spatial-temporal skills, and increased overall IQ.

Your fingers

Playing an instrument requires precise coordination between the hands, fingers, and sometimes other body parts. This helps in developing fine motor skills.


Mastering an instrument takes time and consistent practice. It requires a ton of perseverance to help you push through those difficult times when you hit a wall. You learn how to set goals. 


I can express things through my sax playing that I am unable to express in words. Sometimes it’s just a chance for me to relieve stress.


I have found this to be true especially in jazz and improvisation. It encourages one to think outside the box, to come up with creative solutions. I’m working on a Jazz From The Start curriculum right now. It should be released soon.

Boosted Self-Esteem

I personally had the worst self-esteem of anyone. I didn’t have a dad in my life. I stunk at sports. I did not know how to hunt, fish, or shoot but I could jam on that clarinet, then on the sax.

Neurological benefits

Studies have suggested that learning and playing an instrument can have positive effects on brain health and may potentially delay cognitive decline in later years.

Communication Skills

Playing music often involves performing for an audience, whether it’s a small gathering or a large concert. This helps in developing communication and presentation skills. As concertgoers speak to the performers afterwards, it forces one to engage with others in conversation.

Life-long Learning

From 2000-2005, I was part of the Roughriders Dixieland Band. We performed at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. One year a 94 year old man took the stage. He needed help on each side to get up on the stage. Someone handed him his clarinet. For three songs his fingers were flying across the clarinet! Afterwards someone had to help him off the stage.At age 94 he could still enjoy performing on the clarinet. I doubt there are any 94 year old football players demonstrating tackles.

Music is worthy simply because of the sheer joy it provides!

James has been in the music field since 1986, first as a member of the Army Band then as a teacher. He just retired in 2023 but continues to teach half time at a charter school, is developing jazz curriculum, and is a motivational speaker for teens and educators. Find out more at www.jamesdivine.netCheck out The Saxophone Diaries on amazon by James Divine