Can Playing a Musical Instrument Change the Structure of Your Brain?

Yes! Playing a musical instrument can absolutely change the structure of your brain and how it works.

This may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but it is actually a medically proven phenomenon! And even better, these particular brain changes offer many positive benefits.

So let’s choose 10 benefits and look at them in detail. There are many more, but these are some of the most important.

  1. Our thought processes are improved. Musically trained people typically outperform non-musically trained people on cognitive tasks.They perform better on tests of word recall, nonverbal memory, and cognitive flexibility. Other results show that playing an instrument can increase your IQ by as many as seven points.
  2. Our time management and organizational skills become improved. Music, by nature, is timed. So in order to learn to play, students must learn to organize their thoughts in terms of time structures.
  3. Our coordination becomes enhanced. The sections of your brain that control motor skills actually grow larger and become more active when you learn to play a musical instrument. In order to create music that sounds like music, your brain must translate thoughts and notations into specific motor patterns. As a result, your brain learns to master fingerings, rhythm, and even breathing, all at once! Plus, for most instruments, you need to be able to have your fingers, arms, and sometimes even your legs each performing different tasks at the same time. This enhanced coordination can aid students in sports, typing, dancing and much more!
  4. Music relieves stress. Playing music, or even just listening to it, is a great way to relieve stress. It does not matter if the music is soothing or extremely exciting, either will help you get lost in the sea of sound. And when you are totally immersed, it’s much easier to relax! Playing an instrument also releases endorphins into your body, which naturally reduces your stress level.

More benefits continued next month. Can’t wait that long? Grab a copy of my book The World Needs Music, Are you playing your part? FREE at the music school front desk.

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