Updated: May 4
Music is incredibly important for enhancing brain development. Numerous sources, including Time Magazine, have published articles extolling the value of learning to play an instrument, and how it can improve academic achievement, among other cognitive skills.
The key is actively engaging in the instrument. When we look at our ability to excel at mathematics and develop psychomotor skills and manual dexterity, people who play music are simply better at these things than people who don’t.
Learning to play involves learning to read music, which is highly analytical and mathematical in nature. Playing the instrument involves motor neurons and many areas of the brain in the process as you learn to perform smoothly. Remembering the song, the arrangements, and the changes in tempo also tap into memory and cognitive ability.
There are also ‘brain balancing’ benefits through right-brain, left-brain stimulation. Playing music (or, even singing) with other people or in a band also improves interpersonal skills and team building.
A professional drummer, after having participated in a brain training program here in 2014, signed a contract with a major country music band because his drumming skills had so dramatically improved. His improved mathematical skills, focus, and attention, as well as his improved ability to use his left (non-dominant) hand, allowed him to follow his dream.
The benefits of music also extend to perseverance; sticking to something worthwhile over time. Coordination, reading and comprehension skills, stress relief, and responsibility (i.e. taking care of your instruments) are all-powerful ‘side-effects’ of playing music. Self-expression can also be improved. There is some that struggle with their ability to communicate through words, and music can be their vehicle for communication.
Some woodwind and brass instruments will help improve your breathing and oxygen levels. Even if you’ve never played an instrument before, it’s never too late to learn.
Contributor Author: Dr. Michael Trayford is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Founder of APEX Brain Centers in Asheville, NC. For additional information, and to learn more, please visit our Author's page.
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