We talk a lot about how playing an instrument improves a person's brainpower, as it's one of few activities that use a combination of math, reading, communication, physical coordination, and other skills.
But we don't always talk about how playing an instrument can change a person's social life, for better or for worse.
Certainly one can meet a lot of friends as a result of playing an instrument - the people who play music with you, the other students in your studio, people who happen to go to the same music camp, etc.
Also the sense of accomplishment might improve your confidence, which helps with meeting people and making new friends.
On the down side, if you are spending hours alone in a practice room, you might be missing out on some social opportunities. The time commitment to go to lessons, practice and perform can make it hard to socialize.
When it comes to professional musicians, the odd hours and concert schedule might make it difficult to do those "normal" things like go on the family Fourth of July picnic (sorry, I have to play a concert!) or have a normal Christmas celebration (I have a gig!) or be available for other social gatherings.
There may be new friends you make, simply because they love classical music and want to know someone who plays it. On the other hand, there may be other people that simply can't relate.
When it comes to those living around you, sometimes neighbors and family members enjoy having music close by -- others don't want to hear the sound of practicing, and that can cause conflict.
How has it been with you? Has playing an instrument directly helped with your relationships, or has it had a direct affect that has been negative? A little of both? In what ways? Please participate in the vote and then share your experiences in the comments.
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