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Learn to Play Day 2019

October 2020

Research reveals that making music really is ‘key’ for our health and well-being

Scientific research results, collated by charity Music for All, have today revealed the fascinating health benefits that learning to play a musical instrument can bring.

Released by Music for All ahead of Learn to Play Day 2019 – a national event on 23rd & 24th March 2019 to encourage everyone in the UK to start making music – the results show the numerous physical and mental health benefits which regularly playing a musical instrument can bring – whatever our age!

The results included:

• Playing an instrument as a child leads to a sharper mind in old age: those who had played an instrument for a decade or longer scored significantly higher on tests to measure memory and other cognitive abilities than those with no musical background.1

• Higher intelligence: Children who received music lessons for one year gained an average of 2.7 IQ points more than a control group of children who did not over the same period, with particularly large increases in verbal ability, spatial ability, processing speed and attention.2

• Participating in making music for older people can result in lower mortality rates3; lessen deterioration in physical health4 and reduce the use of medication.

• Playing the piano exercises the heart as much as a brisk walk5.

• Making music develops your brain – extensive instrumental music training affects the anatomy of the brain with greater grey matter volumes in motor-related areas6 and greater white matter volumes in motor tracts7 with differences emerging after one year of music training8. The thickness of the corpus callosum, which links the two hemispheres of the brain, is found to increase directly with the hours spent practising the piano9.

Paul McManus, CEO at Music for All, said:

“Those who currently play a musical instrument already know the enjoyment it can bring to our lives and how it is an amazing thing that can bring people of all ages and backgrounds together. Collating this research on the health benefits is just another reason why we as a charity believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn to play.

“It’s clear that the desire to learn to play is there from the public as our research also indicated that, out of those people who have never played, 58% (14.6m) would like to learn to play a musical instrument, and an astonishing 76% of non-players said that they wished they had learnt to play an instrument. That’s why our 2019 Learn to Play Day event is the perfect opportunity for people across the country to not only discover the joys that making music can bring, but also to reap the numerous health benefits that come with it.”

Learn to Play Day 2019 will take place on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th March, and will see music shops, teachers, venues and schools throughout the UK partner with leading musical instrument brands to offer thousands of FREE music lessons.

Held in partnership with the Musicians’ Union, the ‘Take It Away’ scheme and Making Music, the Learn to Play Day initiative is backed by some of the nation’s most celebrated music stars including Jools Holland and Jamie Cullum.

Pianist, composer and TV Presenter Jools, who is Music for All’s Patron, said:
“As Patron of the Music for All charity, I’m delighted to lend my support to National Learn to Play Day on March 23rd and 24th. It’s a pleasure to be able to share the joy of music, and this special day allows thousands to get involved as venues all over the country offer music lessons for free.”

Fellow musician Jamie Cullum added: “National Learn to Play Day gives everyone a chance to play an instrument, even if they’ve never played before. This wonderful day introduces thousands to the magic of music making, and often reunites people with a lost passion for playing. Get involved and perhaps discover a skill you thought you didn’t have!”

To find a FREE music lesson near you, simply visit https://musicforall.org.uk/learntoplayday/