For many, the potential opportunity to play their instrument with their friends is a big part of choosing an instrument to learn. However, in truth, no matter what instrument you learn (even if it’s simply your own voice), there are a vast range of ensembles playing all sorts of music to suit your style and standard.

Finding a suitable group to play with is a vital part of developing as a musician, the benefits that it can bring to both your playing ability and general personal development are vast, here are our Top Ten...

Top 10 Benefits of Playing Music with others

1. Listening Skills

The ability to listen is a vital part of developing your musicianship. When you are playing as part of an ensemble, it is important to listen to those around you in order to ensure that you can collectively produce a good and supported sound – to play in a group is not necessarily an opportunity to show off your skills, but instead it is an opportunity to learn to listen to those around you and ensure that together you are producing a consistent sound.

2. Team Building Skills

To develop listening and awareness skills will ultimately lead you to become a key member of the group you are playing in. As an ensemble, whether classical or otherwise, it is important to work as a team to produce the nicest and pleasing sound for your audiences to listen to.

3. Theory Skills

As a member of a group, you will automatically develop and improve your theory skills. Understanding time and key signatures is vital so that everyone can play together successfully.

4. Sight-Reading Ability

Increasingly new music will be put in front of you through rehearsals and you will required to play it as a group. In some instances you are able to take the music home or prepare it in your own time before you meet with others but on most occasions, you will be required to sight-read the notes as best you can with the others in the group. As increasingly you are required to do this, your sight-reading ability will automatically improve as you become increasingly used to reading music without preparation.

5. Improves Musical Awareness

A key benefit of playing in a group with other musicians, is that it provides you with the opportunity to play music (both pieces and genres) that you otherwise would not get the opportunity to play/choose to play if you were only learning alone.

6. Build Contacts

The music industry can often seem a strange and intimidating place; like with so many professions, the results of your success art often a result of who you know rather than what you know. For both adults and children alike, playing in an amateur ensemble outside of your work/education environment, provides ample opportunity to meet new people, who, you never know, might help you out in the future.

7. Practise

A rehearsal environment is not only a great place to learn to play better as a musician, but also provides you with a great opportunity to put into practise everything you have learnt in your lessons.

8. Stamina

There are no false illusions that rehearsals can be long and hard but there is no doubt that the reward of playing to a live audience make it all very rewarding and worthwhile. Long rehearsals will build your stamina as you are forced to play for longer periods of time.

9. Confidence

As you play with other like minded people from various backgrounds and at different abilities, you will perhaps initially be ‘wow-ed’ by all the different talents of the other players but as you play and realise that you all have a common goal in mind – to collectively produce a piece to the best of your abilities and please and impress an audience as best you can.

10. Socialising

Apart from any of these other reasons, perhaps the most important reason to play your instrument with other people is that it is great fun. All musicians, whatever their standard or ability enjoys the company of other musicians. Playing in an ensemble with other like minded people provides a great opportunity for you to meet like-minded people, practise all your skills and even learn some new ones.

Whatever instrument you play, whatever your age and ability, there is a group of like-minded musicians out there waiting for you to join them. Get out there and find them! Ultimately, HAVE FUN!! :)

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