Can Music Lessons Help with Anxiety?

A man and woman playing the piano together.

Some benefits of music lessons are obvious: you learn a new skill that you can enjoy alone or share with others. But are you wondering, can music lessons help with anxiety? The answer is a resounding “yes” whether you are a child or an adult.

The National Institutes of Health Reports Music Lessons Reduce Anxiety

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that there are many therapeutic benefits of taking music lessons. They include:

  • Decreased anxiety and agitation
  • Better communication skills
  • Improved emotional release
  • Better cognitive function
  • Improved mental health
  • A feeling of connection with others

When a person is engrossed in music, such as during a piano lesson, they become totally involved in the present. They are immersed in rare moments of total peace and get to enjoy a respite from life’s daily demands.

The NIH reports on a study showing that the simple act of playing a piano can lower a person’s cortisol levels and reduce anxiety. Cortisol is a stress hormone that, over time, increases a person’s risk of anxiety and depression, heart disease, obesity, and many other serious diseases.

These moments of release from stress go a long way in improving a person’s overall health.

An older woman taking a piano music lesson with her instructor.

Many Studies Show Benefits of Music Lessons for Adults

One study shows that an older person enjoys an elevated mood when they learn to read music and play the piano. Additional benefits are:

  • Improved self-esteem
  • Lessened feelings of isolation
  • Greater independence

Other studies showed these added benefits from playing the playing the piano:

  • Less psychological distress
  • Less depression
  • Less fatigue

Involvement with adult piano lessons helps promote feelings of autonomy, empowerment, and social cohesion. Studies show senior citizens in a keyboard class were less anxious and lonely when compared to a control group.

If you’re an adult who’s looking to reduce anxiety and enjoy life more, try picking up a new musical hobby, such as learning to play the guitar.

Here’s why you’re never too old to take music lessons.

Are you interested in learning more about the benefits of adults taking music lessons? Read more about four substantial reasons for adults to play piano.

A boy taking a guitar lesson.

Music Lessons and Children

Since children also suffer with anxiety, it’s good to know that music lessons will also benefit them as well.

Studies out of the University of Vermont show that musical training not only lessens anxiety for children but also helps them develop better emotional control.

Why does this happen? The research shows that music helps develop the decision-making part of the brain by thickening the cortex (the gray matter of the brain). Children learn how to focus their attention as they enjoy decreased anxiety.

The Vermont study also showed that children who learn a musical instrument are less likely to experience depression. And since the prefrontal lobe of the brain isn’t fully developed until the mid-twenties, teens and young adults will reap these benefits as well.

Anxiety Is a Widespread Problem

ADAA, The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, reports that anxiety is the leading cause of mental illness in the US. Anxiety and related stress can hurt our health by contributing to many health issues, including digestive problems, heart conditions, and even cancer.

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) in collaboration with CNN, found in 2023 that 32.3% of the US adult population reported symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Additionally, the American Psychological Association (APA) reports that anxiety among kids is on the rise.

However, there is some good news as well: The enjoyable act of taking music lessons helps ease the symptoms of these common mental health issues.

See how the pandemic has changed the whole learning music spectrum.

A young man is playing the guitar.

Music Lessons Help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The Guitars 4 Vets non-profit program, sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and community based medical centers and run by volunteers, has the mission of promoting the healing power of music through guitar instruction.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common issue for combat veterans. A study showed that after six weeks of weekly 1-hour private guitar lessons and a group learning session, veterans enjoyed positive outcomes in PTSD and improved depression symptoms.

The VA, U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs reported that one veteran even said that the experience helped his memories of trauma fade.

Why Music Lessons Are Relaxing

Music lessons are fun; but why are they so relaxing?

In short, music lessons demand your complete attention. Your mind can’t engage in learning a musical skill and focus on something else simultaneously. Music students have no choice but to set their stress aside and give their full attention to the task at hand—which is learning to play the piano or other musical instrument.

This applies to taking voice lessons as well, so if you always wanted to learn to sing classically, now you have some extra incentive to do so!

Additional Benefits of Music Lessons

Think of music lessons as strength training for the brain. Learning to play an instrument uses both the left and right side of the brain, improving your ability to perform logical tasks and also be creative.

As you strengthen your brain, you improve your memory and recall. That’s why music therapy is so beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients.

Music lessons are also a great outlet for feelings of anxiety or depression. Many people take music lessons and go on to write and perform their own music, allowing them to share their feelings and creativity with others.

Here you can read about the different ways music affects the brain—whether you are listening to or playing music.

Are you thinking about taking adult music lessons, or looking for a great place for music lessons for your child? We offer the very best private voice and musical instrument lessons for all ages, including child and adult piano lessons.

Contact us at B Natural Pianos & Music Lessons. We’ll have you and your family making beautiful music in no time!

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