I LOVE MUSIC. I started listening to music at an early age on radio and a record player. And I made my own musical instruments – a banjo from tin and nylon strings, a drum set from tins and plastic covers.
When I was in Form 1 at St John’s Secondary School in Mongu in 1972 I joined the school band. There I was taught to play the Connet, Trumpet and French Horn. Then I moved to St Francis Secondary School, Malole, Kasama for Form 4 and 5. I joined the school band there which was more advanced than the one at St John’s. I continued playing the Trumpet and French Horn. But I also added the Mellow Phone and Baritone Horn. At St Francis in addition to the brass band we had a pop group called The Comets. It was great fun. We played all sorts of music – songs of The Witch, Musi-O-Tunya, The Tinkles, Five Revolution, Rikki Ililonga, Paul Ngozi, Grand Funk, Deep Purple, Dobbie Brothers, James Brown, the Jackson 5, Osibisa, etc.
I also play the Harmonica, also known as a French harp or mouth organ. This is a free reed wind instrument used worldwide in many musical genres, notably in blues, American folk music, classical music, jazz, country, and rock.
Bo Rikki has creatively used it in his music. And this brother of mine borrowed my Harmonica and I don’t know if I will ever get it back.
We wrote music exams with the London School of Music and Drama.
I am not playing musical instruments but I have stayed with the music.
I have a Trumpet which my daughters bought me for my fiftieth birthday.
I love music. I can’t imagine life without music. As long as I live, I shall be with music.
As Bob Marley aptly put it in a reggae rhythm, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
Choosing to play an instrument is the beginning of a journey. One that is exciting, but often filled with struggle and hard work. It will require you to take in new information and master new skills.
Playing a musical instrument is really worthwhile. I find playing music relaxing. It thus reduces stress. If you are like me and find it easy to get stressed out, listing to music could help lower your stress levels. Listening to your own instrument gives the benefit of taking your mind off of your day.
Playing a musical instrument helps you develop patience and perseverance.
The process of learning to play an instrument is not always easy. It involves not only your mind but also your body. You will have to learn fingerings and/or chord shapes, develop technique, and memorize new information.
Slowly, with consistent practice, you will find yourself getting better. With each new milestone, you gain a small reward for your efforts and this will keep you motivated. Making music requires patience. Instead of getting immediate results, you will have to persevere. Keep at it! you will achieve the results you desire.
You don’t have to become a virtuoso to reap the benefits of music. You can gain many of these benefits by just learning the basics. You will develop a taste for the different composers, styles, and genres of music. Not only does this cause you to be more well-versed in music, but it also leads to a higher appreciation of the skill.
According to Aristotle in his Politics Book 8, unless you have taken part in music education, or in learning an instrument, you have no real basis for assessing the quality of a piece of music.
Interestingly, he also says that you should not dedicate yourself to learning a difficult instrument because it is a waste of time. Just learn enough to enjoy playing a bit, and to judge the quality of music.
Playing a musical instrument cultivates creativity. At its core, music is art.
Music is a language, and the more “words” you learn the more you will be able to say. You will soon find yourself wanting to apply the information you’ve learned to create music of your own and express your own voice.
Music is not just about knowing how to play specific songs; it is about expressing emotion through sound. Whether it is just playing your own version of a song, or creating an entirely new one, learning how to play an instrument enables you to use your creativity to say something original.
Playing a musical instrument uses almost every part of the brain.
And it increases memory capability and also helps to better detect vocal emotions. This makes sense because there are many emotions conveyed through music. Apparently, being exposed to this tonal variance in music can help you to not just detect the emotions of music, but the emotions behind people’s words.
No one – unless you are insanely gifted – can effectively learn to play an instrument overnight. Making music requires work and a consistent investment of time and effort. As they say, practice makes perfect.
Discipline is necessary to go through the process of consistent, focused practice, especially when you would rather watch that new movie or a soccer match. This discipline can carry over into other aspects of your life, elevating the quality of the life you live.
Playing a musical instrument breeds confidence. The process of learning music leads to you playing in front of other people. This fosters the valuable expertise and grit necessary to confidently hold it together when other people are watching.