Music to your ears!

By Shane Shallow

Playing an instrument is proven to develop all kinds of skills in both children and adults – not to mention, it’s fun too!

According to the the Music Industries Association (MIA), music develops creativity and contributes uniquely to raising attainment in literacy and numeracy. Pete McCelland, musical instrument expert, believes that playing a musical instrument is also a great way for young people to learn to work with others, to learn to stretch themselves, take risks, and become a ‘do-er’ rather than an ‘observer’.

Even those still in the womb and newborns always respond strongly and positively to musical sounds that they hear. ‘Years ago, I sang and played to my children, and now our grandchildren are very happy too when we sing with them,’ says Pete.

Why is music good for adults?
Learning to play a musical instrument helps keep people young, according to a new study. Researchers at Northwestern University, Illinois, US, found in the study that musicians aged 45 to 65 excelled in memory and hearing speech in noise compared to non-musicians. ‘I find that the musicians I know have a large circle of friends and lead busy, active lifestyles through their music,’ says Pete. ‘I have always said that you are never too old or too young to start making music! I’m getting on a bit now but my music has kept me in better shape than most and still keeps me very busy.’

Discover the world of acoustic music
Most people learn music at school, but many let it go when they get into work and lives get very busy. It is important to remember that what you learned back then is still in there somewhere and it is not too hard to get back to it. Musical instruments are relatively inexpensive these days; you can get a ukulele, guitar, flute or banjo in most music shops for the price of a good handbag and your instrument will last you a lifetime, paying you back every day you pick it up to play. An acoustic instrument is completely portable; you can play in the back of the car, on the beach, or even in bed. And if you didn’t play at school, many instruments are so easy to pick up from scratch, try a ukulele, concertina or tin whistle for instance.

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About the Author

Pete McClelland founded Hobgoblin Music together with his wife Mannie in 1976. He plays in several barn dance, ceilidh and country music bands. Visit www.hobgoblin.com for more information.

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