¿ How does music impact your brain

Studies continue to demonstrate that music is extremely beneficial for the brain, especially playing an instrument.

Music Therapy is one of the oldest treatment methods in the world to treat diseases holistically, and the benefits are backed by science. 

Most recently, it has been shown that both listening and playing music are extremely effective in preventing dementia.

When music enters the scene, the mood often changes stress, pain, and anxiety become less and less important. 

The three key ingredients to this cure are rhythm, melody, and harmony. 

1. It makes you smarter

Studies show that playing an instrument has a positive impact on inhibition, planning, and verbal intelligence. Furthermore, children who undergo musical training have better verbal memory, second language pronunciation accuracy, reading ability, and executive functions. 

boy playing piano

2. Its just what the doctor ordered

Brain studies show that musicians' motor and multi-sensory networks are often better trained to work together. 

The process of actually playing involves:

  1. Reading a complex symbolic system and translating it into sequential, bimanual motor activity dependent on multi-sensory feedback.
  2. Developing fine motor skills coupled with metric precision
  3. Memorizing long musical passages
  4. Improvising within given musical parameters. 
bear playing clarinet

3. A full sensory workout

Listening to music requires certain perceptual abilities, including pitch discrimination, auditory memory, and selective attention in order to perceive the temporal and harmonic structure of the music as well as its affective components. 

When listening, a network of brain structures becomes engaged. 

Essentially, the auditory cognitive system is fully engaged and dependent on working memory mechanisms in order to relate one element in a sequence to another that occurs later. 

man playing piano in field

4. Aging and alzheimers

Music is harmony, and there is a high level of evidence that music is extremely impactful for Alzheimer's patients. 

It protects cognitive domains that usually decline with aging and boosts other domains that do not decline with aging. 

It reduces the impact of cognitive problems associated with aging because it challenges and stimulates the brain to work together in coherence.

man playing accordion with woman

References

Jaschke, A. C., Honing, H., & Scherder, E. . (2018). Longitudinal Analysis of Music Education on Executive Functions in Primary School Children . Frontiers in Neuroscience, 2018; 12. 103..
Kayaaslan, B. & Lok, N.. (2019). The Effect of Music Therapy on Cognitive Functions and Adaptation in Alzheimer's Patients. International Journal of Depression and Anxiety.
Miendlarzewska, E. A., & Trost, W. J. . (2014). How musical training affects cognitive development: rhythm, reward and other modulating variables. . Frontiers in neuroscience, 7, 279..
Román-Caballero, R., Arnedo, M., Triviño, M., & Lupiáñez, J. . (2018). Musical practice as an enhancer of cognitive function in healthy aging - A systematic review and meta-analysis.. PloS one, 13(11), e0207957. .
Moreno-Morales, C., Calero, R., Moreno-Morales, P., & Pintado, C. . (2020). Music Therapy in the Treatment of Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. . Frontiers in medicine, 7, 160. .
Peretz, I., & Zatorre, R. J. . (2005). Brain organization for music processing. Annual review of psychology, 56, 89–114..
Zatorre, R. J., Chen, J. L., & Penhune, V. B. . (2007). When the brain plays music: auditory-motor interactions in music perception and production. . Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 8(7), 547–558.

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