I see many people these days loving to play brain training games or using apps such as Lumosity, Peak, Evaluate,…This means that people do care brain health, want to improve their brain function to process information more quickly, more accurately.
Today, I want to introduce you a healthy way to work out your brain muscle; you don’t need to stare on the screen for a couple of hours. It is so much fun, entertaining, and beneficial to your brain – playing a musical instrument.
Change In Your Brain Structure And Function
Playing any kinds of musical instrument (guitar, ukulele, piano, saxophone…) has significant impacts on your brain structure and function.
In most of instruments, ukulele is one of the easiest instruments for beginners. Only about $50, you will have a good ukulele for beginners learn to play.
Play a instrument will help you to enhance memory, improve listening skill, spatial visualization ability, and linguistic skill. Plenty of researches have been done to see if music has such that powerful impacts on our neurological system.
Brain scanning studies administered by neuroscientists compared brain structure between musicians and non-musicians of the same age.
They noticed that the area responsible for the connection of two halves of the brain is much larger in musicians. They also saw that regions for movement, hearing, visuo-spatial abilities of pianists are larger than non-musicians.
And professional violin players have an increase in the area involved in touch sensation from the left hand.
These are strong evidences to see music training has a unique impact on our brain. Neuropsychologist Catherine Loveday of the University of Westminster explained: “It stimulates the brain in a very powerful way, because of our emotional connection with it.” Yes, we can’t deny it.
Also, the differences between music players and others correlate with the time the players start to learn and the intensity of the training. The sooner the musicians begin learning, the more significant changes in brain structure we can see. The more intensively the players train themselves, the more apparent changes in brain function manifested.
It’s recommended to take children to musical instrument classes as soon as possible to get brain trained. Encourage them and give them a free choice for their favorite instrument, please make sure that it’s not the parent’s choice lest the learning will be frustrated. It’s one of the best ways that moms and dads can do for your children.
Create Long-Lasting Impacts
It doesn’t matter that your children will pursue it to the professional level. Even a short period of time of learning a musical instrument also has an impressive impact until you get older later.
This benefit is proved through a study in 2013. Researchers recruited older adults and divided them into three groups based on their musical training history since they were children.
The first group hadn’t received any music lesson at all; the second group had received less than three years of training, the final group had received music training from four years to fourteen years.
Neuroscientists used special devices to measure how quickly the participants response to the complex speech sound they were listening. The result is the third group getting the fastest neural responses.
This study suggests that even a limited music training in childhood also brings long-lasting benefits to hearing function as well as the resilience to hearing loss when we age. Some neuroscientists believe that music training can help children with dyslexia in speech processing.
Moreover, we can see a light of hope for patients of stroke or any kinds of brain injuries here. Some researchers assumed that playing musical instruments can generate mental stimulation of Alzheimer patients over a period of time.
By that, their memory can be retained longer. Music can distribute to the rehabilitation of those patients. Music is good therapy.
Please don’t think that only children or youngers can learn how to play music. You, it’s you, at any age, can start to learn to play a musical instrument. I knew one woman started to play piano when she was eighty years old.
Although her hands are too slow to press multitudes of keys, to play a rock song, she only can play easy songs but keep learning. You know she is happy what she is learning, and she is lucid until now, she never forgets a thing.
“Music reaches parts of the brain that other things can’t,” says Neuropsychologist Catherine Loveday. “It’s a strong cognitive stimulus that grows the brain in a way that nothing else does, and the evidence that musical training enhances things like working memory and language is very robust.” It’s the power of music.
Music has become an indispensable part of our daily lives since we’re in our mom’s belly. We listen to music at all times; we play it everywhere.
Albert Einstein – our great physicist once said: “Life without playing music is inconceivable to me. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. I get most joy in life out of music”. You can see how intelligent he is. Maybe it’s due to the music.
A lot of researches and studies have been conducted to examine the work of music on our brain, but I can’t list them all here.
In general, all of them lead to only one result that music or learning to play a musical instrument actually change your brain structure and improve your brain function for the better.
Besides, those impacts are long-lasting; they still exist even you get older, they don’t disappear.
Music training also benefits our mental and emotional health by adjusting mood, boost concentration…Playing a musical instrument is a perfect way to increase our quality of life.
A guitar, a piano, an ukulele are dumbbells for your brain. I’m sure you will workout with joy, with freedom.