Do Musicians Have Healthier Brains?
by Frederik Nielsen, Mar 7, 2020 . 4 min read
Playing musical instruments can help keep your brain sharp. Studies have shown that musical training can change the structure of different brain regions and affect how different regions communicate. So do musicians have healthier brains? And can music keep your brain healthier than the average person? As some of you might’ve guessed, the short answer to that question is “undoubtedly, yes.” Let’s find out how music impacts your brain and increases your brain function.
Benefits of Starting Playing Early
Your parents probably tried to get you to play an instrument while you were growing up. When you asked them why you should do it, they probably just said: “because it’s good for you.” Well, it turns out your parents were right, even if they didn’t know how to explain it.
Studies have shown that musicians that start playing at 7 years of age have a stronger corpus callosum. This part of your brain serves as a bridge for the two hemispheres. By allowing your two hemispheres to communicate more easily, it helps you pick up new skills quicker and solve problems faster.
Why Keep Playing as You Get Older
Starting young has its benefits, but if you want to stay sharp as you get older, you should continue playing music. As your brain and body get older, you start thinking, moving, and reacting more slowly to your environment. However, music can prevent cognitive decline.
According to research from the University of Montreal, musicians have noticeably better reaction times. People can keep their reaction time at a high level as they age if they continue actively playing an instrument. And that’s not all.
As you age, your brain functions start to slow down. That’s one of the main reasons why some people start speaking slowly as they grow older. However, a 2016 study revealed that even people with moderate musical skills process speech sound much quicker even as they get older.
How Being a Musician Improves the Brain
While playing at a young and old age can help you develop new skills faster and keep your regular functions longer, playing throughout your life has numerous other benefits, including:
1. Better Multitasking Skills
When it comes to vision, hearing, and touch, a musicians’ brain is noticeably more developed. Playing an instrument, observing other musicians you’re playing with, and listening to the song you’re all playing creates new neuron pathways in your brain and boosts your ability to multitask.
2. Increased Brain Blood Flow
Musical training can also increase the blood flow in your brain, numerous studies have shown over the years. You don’t have to be a medical professional to know that this is good. Increased blood flow gives you a boost of energy for a short amount of time and improves your brain function over time.
3. Decreased Depression
Listening to and playing music can help you feel less stressed, anxious, and depressed. A recent study of people suffering from cancer revealed that they feel the least anxious when they’re listening to their favorite songs.
Playing an instrument positively affects your abilities far beyond the music world. From improved reading skills to better mental health, music can improve your life in ways you couldn’t even imagine. That’s the best reason to pick up an instrument and start learning music if you ever needed one — and you can speed up the learning process with a Roadie 2 by your side. However, while the health benefits far outway the implications, there are certain things that are important to keep in mind such as How to Avoid Arthritis as a Musician.
We hope you found our article helpful. Do you play an instrument? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.