Why Playing an Instrument Is Good For Your Brain

You’ve likely heard your whole life that playing an instrument is good for your brain. But have you ever wondered why? We’ve got the answers.

Listening to music stimulates all parts of your brain, as you instantaneously process disparate aspects like sound and melody. Making the music works your brain out even more. Basically, the process of creating music strengthens several brain functions, and your visual, auditory and motor cortices. It also requires both hemispheres of your brain to work together. For example, your fine motor skills are controlled by both hemispheres. Plus, creating music is both an emotional, creative process and a technical, mathematical ones. This means it increases activity in your corpus collosum, the bridge between your right and left brain.

Why is this good? More activity in the bridge is linked to more effective problem-solving skills, as well as better planning and attention to detail. Musicians are also shown to have better memories because they can efficiently “tag” each memory with say, both auditory and visual cues, like a good search engine.

Most people believe that the benefits of learning an instrument only come if you learn as a child. This is true – to an extent. Learning how to play an instrument during your formative years actually changes your neural structure. Essentially, playing an instrument is super-complicated: you have to read music and play it simultaneously. So this process involves a lot of neural connections, which improves your brain. Plus, kids who learn to play instruments can hear sounds they couldn’t before, so they learn “neurophysiological distinction” between sounds that helps them in literacy and in school.

But you can still get brain benefits if you learn an instrument as an adult! Learning any new skill is great for your neuroplasticity. Playing music helps you de-stress, and it also forces you to socialize with classmates or an instructor, which we already know is crucial to keeping our brains sharp. And one University of South Florida professor found that adults between 60 and 85 who learned piano for 6 months “showed more robust gains in memory, verbal fluency, the speed at which they processed information, planning ability, and other cognitive functions, compared with those who had not received lessons.”

The bottom line? Learning to play an instrument is amazing for your brain, no matter how old you are – and it’s fun too! So if you’ve always wanted to rock out on the guitar or wail on the sax, now is a perfect time to learn.

Liked this? Learn whether Google is bad for your brain!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

You’ve likely heard your whole life that playing an instrument is good for your brain. But have you ever wondered why? We’ve got the answers.

Listening to music stimulates all parts of your brain, as you instantaneously process disparate aspects like sound and melody. Making the music works your brain out even more. Basically, the process of creating music strengthens several brain functions, and your visual, auditory and motor cortices. It also requires both hemispheres of your brain to work together. For example, your fine motor skills are controlled by both hemispheres. Plus, creating music is both an emotional, creative process and a technical, mathematical ones. This means it increases activity in your corpus collosum, the bridge between your right and left brain.

Why is this good? More activity in the bridge is linked to more effective problem-solving skills, as well as better planning and attention to detail. Musicians are also shown to have better memories because they can efficiently “tag” each memory with say, both auditory and visual cues, like a good search engine.

Most people believe that the benefits of learning an instrument only come if you learn as a child. This is true – to an extent. Learning how to play an instrument during your formative years actually changes your neural structure. Essentially, playing an instrument is super-complicated: you have to read music and play it simultaneously. So this process involves a lot of neural connections, which improves your brain. Plus, kids who learn to play instruments can hear sounds they couldn’t before, so they learn “neurophysiological distinction” between sounds that helps them in literacy and in school.

But you can still get brain benefits if you learn an instrument as an adult! Learning any new skill is great for your neuroplasticity. Playing music helps you de-stress, and it also forces you to socialize with classmates or an instructor, which we already know is crucial to keeping our brains sharp. And one University of South Florida professor found that adults between 60 and 85 who learned piano for 6 months “showed more robust gains in memory, verbal fluency, the speed at which they processed information, planning ability, and other cognitive functions, compared with those who had not received lessons.”

The bottom line? Learning to play an instrument is amazing for your brain, no matter how old you are – and it’s fun too! So if you’ve always wanted to rock out on the guitar or wail on the sax, now is a perfect time to learn.

Liked this? Learn whether Google is bad for your brain!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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