Everybody loves to jam out to some tunes now and then. But did you know it can be good for your health? Here are 8 reasons why you should play music every day.
You know what they say: “An hour of piano practice a day, keeps the doctor away.”
Remember those music lessons your parents forced you to take every week?
Even though you might have complained you didn’t want to play music, you should be grateful you did. In fact, that weekly piano lesson with Mrs. Clarson would go on to benefit you in ways you couldn’t have predicted.
And thanks to science, now you know.
Playing music is like therapy for your brain. When we are stressed, music has the ability to soothe us. It makes us feel happy when we are sad and keeps us connected to our emotions.
But it’s not just listening to music that sparks wonder. It’s actually the physical act of playing music that has the ability to improve your health.
Take a look at the eight reasons below why music is good for the brain.
1. Enhances Your Empathy Capacity
Have you ever heard a song so moving that it brought you to tears? That’s the powerful connection music has with your brain.
It’s also evidence of the dance our brains do while processing the notes of a musical composition.
Sure, you can listen to music but playing a musical instrument is where the connection lies. Playing an instrument helps us tune into emotions as they relate to sound.
This ability also helps recognize the important role emotions play in the conversation. In turn, individuals could engage in conversations with more depth and meaning.
2. Boosts Communication for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum
Approximately one in 68 people in the United States live with an autism diagnosis. Individuals on the autism spectrum often face communication challenges.
Several ongoing struggles people with ASD have are interactions with peers and interpreting emotions through conversation. But playing an instrument can help with communication issues.
Music therapy provides children on the autism spectrum an alternate daily way to communicate and interact.
A five-year University of Southern California study also revealed playing an instrument can improve the comprehension of emotions.
3. Play Music to Slow the Brain’s Aging Process
For many, understanding how to do something new keeps the mind young. And now there is scientific evidence to back this theory up.
Learning to play music requires physical dexterity and complex hand-eye coordination. These activities help boost your motor skills and keep your memory sharp as a tack.
Playing an instrument also enhances your ability to process the complexities of speech.
This study reveals how people who play an instrument have a significant advantage. Scores on speech recognition, visual cues, and sensory detection were all higher.
Twenty percent more, to be exact.
So whether you play the flute for two years in sixth grade or practice piano until you’re 90, the long-term benefits are similar.
The bottom line? Any type of music training makes a difference.
4. Speech Processing Improves
Learning how to play an instrument is a lot like learning how to speak another language. And studies have shown that those who play music are also able to learn a second language much faster.
Playing music can have a big impact on how the brain processes the sounds of consonants and vowels.
A Northwestern study revealed that two years of musical training had enormous benefits. Children in the study demonstrated elevated levels of speech detection.
As a result, the brain’s ability to recognize nuances in speech allows for faster sound processing.
5. Safeguard Against Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Learning something new like typing or playing guitar helps improve working memory.
Absorbing those short-term details helps trigger and improve memory function. Playing an instrument offers the same benefits to patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Because musicians are able to remember words and images much faster than non-musicians, people with memory-related diseases who play an instrument have an advantage.
And all it takes is 45 minutes a week to make a difference.
Ready to get a jumpstart on your health? Why not rent a guitar from Orlando Backline Rentals and get reacquainted with an old friend today?
6. Mental Health Strength
Musicians who have control over their instruments demonstrate an innate ability to remain focused.
The act of playing music is beneficial because it is also the type of control that helps regulate emotions.
When you amp up your levels of concentration and focus, your mental health gets a boost as well.
Several studies revealed musicians are more even-tempered and upbeat with fewer anger management issues.
Incidentally, musicians also have less a chance of acting on road rage.
7. Executive Brain Function
Practicing playing an instrument helps bind the white matter in your brain. This means your creative hemisphere and your analytical hemisphere are working in harmony.
The more white matter you have, the better the right and left sides of your brain can communicate with each other.
Practice makes perfect, right?
In fact, the more you practice your flute or violin, the more confidence you gain making decisions.
Your memory also gets a boost and so does your ability to “go with the flow” when things fall apart.
These skills also benefit children with learning disabilities who need extra help with self-monitoring.
8. Creative Problem Solving
When the brain’s creative side mingles with its analytical side while playing music, a strong bond is fused.
This connection helps expedite how quickly your brain can creatively solve problems.
It also helps you communicate faster. This, in turn, increases your ability to see things differently and expand your decision-making capabilities.
Ready, Set, PLAY!
While most of us would rather not research how to find the best quality health facility for treatment of dementia or Alzheimer’s, it is comforting to know we can change the course of our health with music.
If you were able to start playing music before the age of 10, it is believed you have a slight advantage.
But if you’re ready to learn at the age of 48, that’s okay, too!
You can still cash in on the health benefits of playing a musical instrument, no matter what your age is!
It’s never too late to find a hobby that sparks your passion, or in this case, boosts your memory.
When you play music, your brain will thank you in 20 years!