Ever since I started learning music, and particularly after choosing music as a full-time profession, I never felt the need to express myself in words. Music is a medium that goes beyond spoken language and expresses that which cannot be or cannot easily be expressed in words. Having said that, in the past over six years, ever since I founded KaushikDhwanee and made music as a career choice, I have got several questions from students, parents of the students, curious folks and from the people from almost all walks of life – questions such as what are benefits of learning music, why learn music, is it too late for me to learn music, what kind of music I should learn and so on. So I decided to write this blog with the intention to shed some light on these questions.
There are numerous benefits of learning music and one can search on google and find various articles and research studies that show how a child’s brain gets developed, how the motor skills get developed, how the memory becomes sharp among a variety of other benefits. The benefits that I will be mentioning in this article are based on my personal experiences and observations of the past six years. Since I am an Indian Classical Musician, many of my insights apply to Indian Classical Music although most of them shall apply to music in general as well.
- Learning music is the best and the easiest way to propagate your culture. In the Indian Classical System of learning music, we learn various compositions that are hundreds of years old. They capture the mood and sentiment of those days reflecting the thinking of our ancestors, description of various festivals for instance Holi, description of various seasons and emotions invoked by those seasons. Thus, the study of Indian Classical Music will quite easily enable one to understand Indian culture in general.
- One doesn’t need to be taught separately to respect elders. Indian Music is so profound and is learned purely in a Guru-Shishya Parampara (tradition). There is no other way to learn Indian Music than to find a right guru and to surrender unto him/her. Because of this and because a students’ musical acumen gets better and better as he/she listens to various other senior contemporary musicians, and musicians from the past who did phenomenal amount of work in their respective musical area, it just easily fills a student with immense respect for past generations and towards the elders in general.
- Music makes you physically and mentally fit. As you continue your musical study, you quickly realize that you must be physically fit and mentally positive and in a happy frame of mind to be able to practice music. Without these pre-requisites of good health and good mental demeanour, it is not possible to learn music well. Hence first thing a music student needs to fix is his physical and mental well-being. This becomes a habit leading to general good physical and mental health.
- Music inculcates presence of mind. Let me share an interesting incident with you. Once in my music class, when I asked my ten year old student who’s been learning music from me from the age of 5, to locate the ceiling fan’s speed regulator and increase the speed, he just rose up confidently sinking in the instruction given by me, located the switch-board, pressed the right button to turn on the fan among 4/5 buttons and moved the regulator in a right direction! Whereas, whenever I ask this same thing to my otherwise new students (young or old) most of them get confused, press the wrong button and turn the regulator in the opposite direction 😊
- Learning music makes you mentally alert. Few months ago, I bought a new car which was parked outside the building and my class was going on the first floor where all students came for their class. After the class, one of my senior students came up to me and congratulated me on the new car! I was pretty surprised to see how he figured that it was my car. Pondering over this incident made me realize how by continued study of music, you gain an understanding of your surroundings, what’s really happening in your own life leading one to become mentally more and more alert.
- Learning music makes memory sharp as a knife. Over past 12 years of learning music, I see a steady improvement in my memory. Because I am having to remember a lot of music lessons, remembering things and recollecting them is becoming my nature. I see a similar improvement in my senior students. My tabla students do not write anything in a notebook and they manage to remember all of the teachings by heart. Whereas any new student (particularly older ones) who come in to learn have difficulty memorising and have no other way but to use a notebook to write the lessons down.
Is it to late for me to start learning music? The short answer is NO.
The long answer is that it depends on what your goal is in learning music. If you are looking to become a professional musician, particularly Indian Classical Instrumentalist or Vocalist, it is a matter of many years of sustained practice and many other factors that all need to come together in order to turn a student into a musician. Hence sooner you start learning music, better it will be. If you are looking to study music as a hobby (and I feel that everyone should approach it as a light-hearted activity without any goals), music will provide you an incredible getaway from whatever your profession is. It will instantly bring your focus on the present moment and will make you forget all your worries leading to general well being and all the benefits start to apply to you provided you study music for a sustained period.
Music is such a vast subject that there is something for everyone in it. So, if you are looking to become a DJ for instance, studying any rhythm instrument such as tabla, drums etc will be immensely helpful to you. Mixing songs that go with each other in terms of beats per minute will become your second nature! If you are looking to become a music composer, you should study Indian Classical Music or Western Classical Musical instrument such as keyboard or piano. This will enable you to compose your own tunes with a fair amount of ease. Next thing you know, you are famous 😊
Whatever your goal is and whatever your age is, young and old ones, all should learn music and make happiness their way of life.
About the author, Kaushik Lahoti
Kaushik Lahoti is a founder of KaushikDhwanee, music dance and art school located in Hyderabad, India. He is pursuing Indian Classical Music (Hindustani Vocal and Tabla) since past over 12 years. He teaches these subjects at the two branches of KaushikDhwanee in Hyderabad located in the suburbs of Kondapur and Nallagandla. He can be reached via email for any follow-up questions at Kaushik.firstname.lastname@example.org