Did you know that playing a musical instrument can have a profound impact on your brain? It’s true! Research has shown that musicians have different brains than non-musicians. For example, musicians tend to be better at multitasking and have increased gray matter in some brain regions. Here are five ways playing an instrument influences your brain.
It Strengthens Memory Skills
One of the most surprising ways playing an instrument influences your brain is by strengthening your memory skills. A study conducted by researchers at the University of St Andrews found that musicians have better working memory than non-musicians. Working memory is essential for learning new information, solving problems, and making decisions.
The study found that musicians who regularly practiced an instrument had increased gray matter in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is important for memory. The hippocampus is also responsible for learning new skills and forming new memories.
It Boosts Cognitive Abilities
Playing an instrument can also boost your cognitive abilities. For example, a study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University found that musicians have better attention spans and can better focus on tasks than non-musicians.
The study found that the brains of musicians process information more quickly than the brains of non-musicians. Musicians also have increased gray matter in the cerebellum, responsible for coordination and movement. This increased gray matter may be responsible for the improved motor skills of musicians.
It Increases Creativity
Playing an instrument can also increase your creativity. Musicians can get more creative by using guitar samples and guitar pedals to come up with new ideas for example. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto found that musicians are better able to come up with original ideas than non-musicians. In addition, the study found that musicians have increased gray matter in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive functions such as planning, organizing, and problem-solving.
The prefrontal cortex is also responsible for creativity and innovation. This means that musicians are better able to develop new ideas and solutions to problems.
It Enhances Academic Performance
Playing an instrument can also enhance your academic performance. For example, a study conducted by researchers at the University of California found that students who play a musical instrument perform better in school than students who don’t play an instrument.
The study found that students who played a musical instrument had higher grades and were more likely to graduate from high school than students who didn’t play an instrument. Musicians also tended to have better test scores and were more engaged in class.
It Reduces Stress
Finally, playing an instrument can also reduce stress. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Miami found that musicians have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than non-musicians.
Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress. It is responsible for the fight-or-flight response, which is the body’s response to stress.
So, as you can see, playing an instrument has several benefits for the brain. If you’re looking for a way to boost your cognitive abilities, creativity, memory skills, or academic performance, playing an instrument may be the solution for you. Give it a try! You won’t regret it.
Image Credits: Siniz Kim