Train Your Brain with Music
By Kate Gardner
Like most people on this planet, I love listening to music. When I'm driving, when I'm cleaning, when I'm working -- music is the background of my days. But other than a mediocre air-guitar, I never learned to play an instrument. However, an ever-growing body of research suggests that this is one of the best things we can do for our brains! Inc.com shows us the research that proves the powerful effects of learning an instrument can have on our brain health.
Benefits of Learning an Instrument
Studies support the notion that learning to play an instrument benefits the brain in many different ways. It has been shown to make positive, lasting changes to brain structure and function. These changes are so profound that researchers can tell the difference between brain scans of people who play an instrument versus scans of those who don't!
These brain benefits occur across a range of different abilities. Studies have shown a positive impact on memory, hearing, reading, and sensory processing. Other studies have shown that playing music (as well as listening to it) can help reduce anxiety in different populations, including cancer patients. Playing an instrument can also make you happy by connecting you to music you love and giving you a sense of accomplishment.
Getting the Best Results
The benefits of learning to play an instrument are strongest in people who learned as a child. Brain scans have shown that these people show the biggest changes to brain structure. However, learning at any age can impact your brain in lasting ways, including some protection against age-related hearing decline.
Learning to Play
If you're like me and you've never played an instrument before, you may feel like it's out of your reach. Jump this hurdle by making small goals for yourself. Your first step might be picking an instrument you're interested in and can afford. I don't think a baby grand piano is in my future, but a used keyboard might be. Next, decide if you would rather take lessons or start off slower by learning on your own. A quick search of YouTube shows dozens (if not hundreds) of videos that claim they can help you learn to play an instrument. Or maybe you want to pick up a book from the library and learn that way! Find a way that works with your learning style and budget and get started.
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