The theater is dark, the crowd is quiet, and the spotlight is on you. You, on the other hand, don’t seem to notice the thousands of eyes fixed on you. You are too absorbed in your music, in the fading and intensifying notes, in the sadness and anger of your melody. You hit the last note, making your violin cry. Five seconds of silence and the crowd erupts in applause and gives you an encore.
Who hasn’t dreamt of giving an outstanding performance to an enraptured audience? Once — even just once — in our lives, we gave in to this fantasy of being a genius musician.
Maybe it was the time you watched an orchestra for the first time, maybe it was the time you watched Rami Malek imitate Freddie Mercury playing the first notes of Bohemian Rhapsody on the piano. Whatever the circumstance, you suddenly think that if you only had the time, you would get a vocal coach or take piano lessons.
Now then, by the turn of events not necessarily the best, you do have that time. And in fact, it is the perfect time to learn your dream instrument.
Learning an instrument requires focus
In other words, whatever anxieties you have, you need to set aside once you start your lessons. Just like reading a book where you get to leave your worries and escape to another world, you get to do it with music. The focus that you need to master a musical instrument also trains your brain to quickly discard unnecessary stimuli and concentrate on what is important. In the long run, it will be good for your cognitive abilities.
It does not have to be expensive, but you need — and will learn — discipline. Of course, you need to take lessons, but once you are done with the basics, you can continue refining your skill on your own. Mastery of anything takes time, which is the resource you have plenty of right now. Set a daily goal for how long you would practice every day. They say do something for 21 days straight and it would become a habit. There could be no better habit than playing music.
Music improves your mood
The prolonged confinement is doing a lot of harm to our brains — at least to many of us who are not used to staying indoors for so long. In addition to the pandemic, other news this year had not exactly been good. It is natural to feel scared of what is happening, worried about the future, and depressed because you feel helpless.
Music has been used for therapy. But instead of just listening to music, you will be creating it. So not only will you be relaxed by what you hear, but you also get to vent your feelings through music.
Music knows no age
You might think that you are too old to learn something new. Don’t be disheartened — even if there are so many videos of child prodigies. Music can be learned at any age. In fact, retirees are encouraged to learn an instrument so that their brain continues to be active even if they are no longer working. It’s a good exercise of coordinating your motor and cognitive skills. You read notes, music symbols — pretty much like you are reading sentences. At the same time, your brain is directing your fingers to move according to these musical phrases.
When the world opens up again, music is good for socializing. Just imagine the jam sessions you would have, the personal performances you could give as a gift. If you are not that popular now, you could use music to boost your social skills, gain new friends, maybe even explore new communities. Don’t expect to emerge a rock star or a musical genius after the quarantines. But even if you don’t become a world-famous musician — well, you can still aspire to be one in the future if you really dream of becoming one — the benefits you get are worth it.
During these trying times, do not waste the opportunities that unexpectedly came alongside the problems. Your movements are restricted, but you finally have the resource that for so long you wished you had — time. Fulfill all your ‘if only I had the time’ dreams before. This resource will not be abundant for long. Eventually, we will all have to go back to the rushed daily grind. Maximize the present. Don’t use it up in movie marathons and other fun activities, but will not have a lasting benefit for you.