The Benefits of Playing Music Solo & With a Group

Mar 1, 2023

Have you ever considered how often you play your instrument alone? For most students, especially at the beginning of their musical journey, the only human interaction they have is with their teacher. Recitals and other kinds of performances offer great opportunities for you to play in front of people, but you’re still up there all by yourself. The fact is, there are plenty of benefits that come from both playing music solo and as part of a group. Let’s take a look at both situations, and what you can get out of each.

Playing Music Solo

We may not think about it in exactly these terms, but we all start out as soloists. We get used to playing and practicing “behind closed doors,” so to speak, and often feel most comfortable being our own audience.

And, indeed, there are great benefits to this. In fact, “starting solo” gives new musicians:

  • Better self discipline;
  • More self-awareness;
  • Improved confidence; and
  • Increased growth in other areas of your life.

That said, the one way to supercharge these benefits is to learn, play, and create music with others!

Playing Music with a Group

Of course, music itself tells us that it is meant to be more than a solo game.

It tells us with a single word: harmony. The very nature of harmony is more than one note: the chord. Chords are made up of several notes – any number of notes, in fact – as long as it’s more than one.

But it goes even further than this simple explanation. Harmony adds texture, color, depth, emotion, beauty, and more to music. Without chords, none of it would exist. No piece of music can be quite as lovely played all on its own.

And while chords are important to give music life, the same is true for playing with more people. As well as you may be doing playing solo, imagine what could happen when you add in the harmony of more performers!

Some of the incredible benefits of playing music with a group include:

  • Better listening abilities;
  • More openness to others;
  • Improved communication skills;
  • Greater empathy;
  • Team-work skills;
  • Improved confidence; and
  • Objective feedback from people who are not your teacher.

Clearly, the benefits go far beyond simply making great music!

The biggest difference between playing solo and playing in a group is pretty obvious: solo play is focused on you, group play is focused on you – as a part of the group. Both are important parts of learning to play music!

Think of it as a bit of a balancing act. If you only practice and play by yourself, the scale may be too far to the solo side. You may have never even considered how playing with others can help your own skills. But now is the time to start thinking about opening yourself up to the possibility of creating music with other musicians.

The fact is, the musical learning experience reflects life and how it works. If you try to do everything in life alone, at best you’ll be lonely, at worst, you won’t succeed. Think about everything you’ll miss without friends and loved ones by your side. Consider the color and depth these people add to your everyday life. Think about how you sometimes to things better, simply because you did it with others, instead of all alone.

It’s exactly the same with music.

How to Find a Group to Play With

So, how do you go about finding yourself other musicians to play with? Let’s take a look at some of the ways:

  • If you’re still a beginner, you might ask your teacher to play along with you at lessons. This way you can begin to get used to playing with someone early in your journey. Your teacher, in fact, is a wonderful resource for playing with others. Just ask them to introduce you to some of their other budding students.
  • If you’d reached the intermediate level, it’s not too soon to ask your teacher if you can accompany some of their beginner students. The music they’re learning will be relatively simple, making it perfect for you to learn how to listen closely to another musician while you play.
  • The internet is another great resource. Reach out to local musicians through social media, sites like Craig’s List, or other community publications or websites. It’s likely you’ll find people to play with easily. What’s more, there’s a good chance you’ll even find other student at your skill level who won’t be critical of your learning process. And you can help each other!
  • If you are a member of a religious community, you may consider offering to play at services an event. You might even end up with some wedding gigs, which can help you gain even more experience playing in front of people and with others.
  • Check your local venues for “open mic nights.” If you’re not familiar, in events like these, venues open their stages to anyone who wishes to perform. Open mic nights have grown in popularity recently and are a wonderful way to connect with local musicians. If you can’t find one, talk to a venue about starting one!
  • With summer here, it’s the perfect time for family gatherings. It’s also the perfect time to reach out to your family to see if any of them would like to perform with you at your next get together. What a better way to have fun with family!

Closing Thoughts

It’s normal to feel intimidated by the idea of playing with someone else, especially if you’ve never done it before. Maybe you don’t think you’re good enough, or you’re afraid of how others might react to your process. No matter what you’re feeling, you’re not alone!

All musicians go through those feelings – it’s part of the package. But what is important to remember is that it’s just one small aspect of learning to play music, and the rest is filled with fun and music! What’s more, even fear is a gift – it shows that you’re growing!

Is it time to start your musical journey on the right foot? Visit The Music Studio, and take a look at our solo and group lessons! We offer programs for all ages and skill levels – it’s never too early or too late to begin!