Alright, first post of the year! Considering this time of the year, I wanted to make this first post a bit more of an inspirational post, rather than so much a meaty post about musical concepts.
I was inspired in one of my first lessons of the year by a conversation at the end where we shared about things we have read and what we’ve seen in person about the benefits of music – more specifically, on the mind and brain.
Most of us have heard by now about music helping the development of the brain etc. But I believe that knowing a bit more about WHY this is the case can really help us be inspired as we enjoy those benefits.

Engaging the brain

Of course, every activity needs some brain power, but very few do this to the same scope as music.
At John Hopkins University, dozens of rappers and musicians have improvised during an fMRI to see the areas of the brain that would light up:
“Music is structural, mathematical and architectural. It’s based on relationships between one note and the next. You may not be aware of it, but your brain has to do a lot of computing to make sense of it,” notes one otolaryngologist (source).
Other sources have stated that music helps to improve cognitive abilities as well as long term memories (goes to explain why I’m so smrat!!), found through experiments at University of Texas Arlington measuring electrical activity of neurons in musicians and non-musicians, finding differences in responses from the frontal and parietal lobe and also noting the strong similarities with processing music and language.

Focusing multiple senses

 

One of the reasons that learning music has such affects more so than other activities is the fact that we are needing to fully engage three senses – hearing, touch and sight (sight less so as a musician becomes more proficient). In a study by Stanford which involved just listening to music (not even playing), “The research team showed that music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating the event in memory.” (source)

Slows the aging process

 

I admit, I tricked you a little bit with this sub-heading, but what it has shown to do is diminish some of the negative effects of growing older, namely – hearing (also memory but we’ve covered that). Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University. It’s not so much through better hearing per say, but better ability to discern what is being heard, quoting that “music fine-tunes the nervous system”, “Playing music engages their ability to extract relevant patterns, including the sound of their own instrument, harmonies and rhythms. (source)

Extra tip: I’m telling this to myself as much as anyone else, but listen to new music, we all love listening to our favourites but immersing in new material challenges the brain to understand it. (source)

 

Also, my goal here was just to highlight a few key things but there are so many more. Here is a great list of examples backed up by reputable sources and covering a range of fields, not just cognitive benefits, but also social, health and educational.

 

I hope that this has been inspiring for you and please share anything else that you would like to add! Also, don’t forget to like, share and contact us for any lessons!

 

Paul

TMTG