We are all very aware of the importance of exercising our bodies to maintain physical health and fitness. What if I were to tell you that your brain needs working out too?
Music no doubt has the ability to impact many areas of our lives. Creating music has been one of the most basic actions of humans since prehistoric times. Music has the ability to transcend language and interconnects cultures around the world. Simply listening to music can produce changes in mood, behavior, and physiological functions of the body. (O’Donnell cited by Stoklosa 2016). However, what you may not know is how exactly music improves brain development and function.
Playing a musical instrument has been shown throughout history and scientific studies to increase cognitive ability through enhanced neuronal communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, resulting in positive effects on learning, memory, fine motor skills, verbal reasoning, and non-verbal reasoning. Leaving the person with a much more capable brain to apply in a variety of diverse settings (Stoklosa, 2016).
The full brain workout that comes from this involves aesthetic and artistic elements of learning that are unique characteristics of playing an instrument which an individual cannot stimulate through any other activity. This ensures people who play an instrument regularly to have naturally better problem solving ability, critical thinking, and processing.
This is especially effective for children because their brains are developing rapidly. They are easily able to form new connections between different synapses that create long-term, powerful structural changes. However, there are plenty of benefits to learning as an adult too, which you can read about in another one of our posts here.
Interestingly, even brief periods of musical training can have long-lasting benefits. A 2013 study found that even those with moderate musical training preserved sharp processing of speech sounds. It was also able to increase resilience to any age-related decline in hearing.
In summary, choosing to learn and play an instrument is one of the best decisions you can make for your brain health at any life stage. So why not give it a go and join Hello Music World today!
Check out this Ted Talk for a more detailed explanation!
Stoklosa, Anne R.. "Instruments of Knowledge: Music and the Brain." The Review: A Journal of Undergraduate Student Research 17 (2016): -. Web. [date of access]. <https://fisherpub.sjfc.edu/ur/vol17/iss1/12>.