A Prescription for Music Lessons

This studies review from Dr. Debra Shipman has been published by Federal Practitioner. It concludes:

“A healthful lifestyle includes holistically addressing issues pertaining to mental and physical well-being. Learning how to play a musical instrument is a workout for the brain, just as physical exercise is a workout for the body; both are necessary for optimal health. Evidence exists to support the hypothesis that playing an instrument elicits brain changes that positively influence cognitive functioning and decreases stress. Despite the lifelong benefits of playing an instrument, only about 8% of adults aged > 18 years play a musical instrument.33

Playing a musical instrument provides health benefits without the adverse effects that accompany pharmacologic therapy. It also can help improve social skills and provide individuals with a sense of achievement. Group music lessons provide an opportunity for people to build bonds and positively affect lifestyle choices.

In addition, engaging individuals in learning to play music may decrease the cost of health care when considering treatments for depression, PTSD, and substance abuse. Playing an instrument may help decrease the need for antidepressants and provide a healthy recreational activity. Based on its physical and mental benefits, learning to play a musical instrument should be explored as complementary alternative medicine. Compared with filling prescription medications over an individual’s life-time, the cost of a portable keyboard is substantially less.

Given the benefits of increased coordination, social involvement, neural responses, and ability to focus along with improving fine motor skills and reducing stress, including music lessons as part of a veteran’s health care makes sense and is well worth further investigation and research.”

You can read the full review from here.

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