It has long been debated about which skill is more valuable in a musician: sight reading versus playing by ear. Sight reading means that a person learns by learning how to read music and notations. When you learn by ear you are listening to other musicians and recordings to learn a song. Classically trained musicians argue that you need to know the foundation in order to not develop poor habits. It is much more precise than learning by ear. You also have the ability to play a multitude of different styles and can more easily play with other musicians.
Musicians who learn by ear benefit by being able to learn music much faster and can pick up on mistakes more easily. It is also said that learning music by ear is a much more natural way of learning. You are conditioned from childhood to recognize and learn sounds; there is no need for sheet music. Most experts conclude that the best thing to do is to learn both styles and be as well rounded as possible as there are significant benefits to both methods.
The ones who benefit the most from any music training are going to be the children. Children who have music education from an early age show to have increased language development and a higher IQ. A young brain has more elasticity than an older person and are thus able to learn more easily. Children also gain enhanced motor skills, a sense of discipline, increase in reading comprehension and improved test scores.
While the benefits might be greater for children, learning music is still highly rewarding for an adult. Adults who learn an instrument show to have higher patience and are better able to work in a team environment. Music also helps you to connect with others and therefore improves your social life. Playing an instrument or singing is also commonly shown to reduce stress as well as prevent the onset of alzheimer’s and dementia.
With all the pluses that come with musical training it would only make sense to pursue music. Whether you start out playing on a keyboard by ear or actually formally sitting down with a teacher and learn the old fashioned way, you are going to have a rich and rewarding experience that will change you in best of ways. You can find lessons at local music shops, universities, and through personal tutors.