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How music can help mental health in children

Music mental health
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

From brain workouts to finding friends, find out why learning a musical instrument has lots of benefits.

There is strong evidence that making music and playing a musical instrument, even a little, is beneficial to mental, physical and emotional health. It doesn’t matter what age you are or even your ability – as long as you play for a few minutes as often as you can – you will be taking positive steps to improve your mental health.

Yamaha Music London, Yamaha’s flagship music store in Wardour Street, Soho, supports these issues raised by Every Mind Matters, the new mental health campaign launched this week by Public Health England. For children and young people who have a problem expressing themselves, playing an instrument is a fun way to limit stress and keep depression and anxiety at bay. 

A survey carried out by the mental health charity Mind found that three in five young people aged between 11 and 19 have experienced a mental health problem or are close to someone who has. Children and young people today also face the additional online pressures of cyberbullying and the competitiveness of social media. Learning to play a musical instrument is life enhancing and can help overcome challenging situations at home, at school or at work.

Here are five reasons from Yamaha Music London on why your child should learn an instrument:

Give your brain a workout

Playing a musical instrument is like doing a workout for every part of the brain. It helps improve mental performance and memory. Over time, playing music will refine co-ordination and motor skills. Improving musical skills will use all parts of the brain involved in concentration. Reading music helps the brain to strengthen the ability to process information resulting in improved reading and maths skills.

Too much work – too little play

Finding time for relaxation is vital to help the mind and body switch off from feeling overwhelmed. A new and fun hobby can be a great way to relax. Finding an enjoyable hobby will help switch the brain off from the pressures of work, school or college and you will cope better with work or studying after taking a break from it.

If you have always wanted to play or are a lapsed musician – what are you waiting for? Just do it!


Music can help cope with understanding difficult feelings. Music is a creative way of opening up and sharing feelings of sadness and emotions. Music helps you communicate and helps you grieve. You might like to write down your feelings in song form. Sharing and playing music makes you realise that you are not alone.

Going for goals

Low self-esteem can lead to depression and anxiety. By setting some realistic goals, for example to learn to play a few bars or notes or practise for 20 minutes every day, will give a wonderful sense of achievement. It will improve confidence and feelings of positivity in other areas of life too.


Being active reduces some of the emotional intensity around you. Playing an instrument naturally leads to increased physical activity. Whether you are playing the guitar, piano, strings or a wind instrument, you are using arm and back muscles to play or hold your instrument. Vigorously play the drums and get a cardio workout for free!

Find friends

Having a good social network is important. Music can be a way to meet new, like-minded people – playing in a band, orchestra or a choir – can be a great way to make new friends.

And… Rock out with Yamaha Music London!

Yamaha Music London is holding its first Learn to Play Rock School for 11-18 year olds on Friday, 19th October from 10am – 5pm.

The FREE 1-2-1 taster music lessons are aimed at young people aged from 11 to 18. *

Professional music teachers will holding sessions on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, electric drums and keyboards.

More details are available at

*To avoid disappointment, people are encouraged to arrive early at the store as the free places are available on a first-come-first-served basis. Young people 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult.