Fireworks Playing an instrument creates fireworks in the brain.
In the last few decades, neuroscientists have made important breakthroughs regarding how our brains work by monitoring our brains with instruments like FMRI and PET scanners. Brain activity can now be observed. Tasks like reading and math problems have corresponding areas of the brain where activity can be observed. When researchers had participants listen to music, while hooked up to these scientific instruments, the researchers saw fireworks.
Multiple areas of the brain were lighting up at once as they processed the sound and took it apart to understand elements like melody and rhythm. BUT When scientists began to collect musicians as their participants the little fireworks they saw and heard became another Canada Day or New Years! Apparently, playing music is the brain’s equivalent to a full body work-out!
Like, I tell my students, every song is like a little vitamin for their brain. Playing a music instrument engages practically every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory and motor areas. As with any other workout, disciplined and structured practice strengthens all of these important brain areas and functions which has even been linked to improved health and wellbeing.
Playing music uses both the left and right brain and has by consequence been known to strengthen one’s Corpus Callosum, the bridge between the Left and Right brain- improving one’s brain’s volume and activity. This intense use of the brain is one of the reasons why playing a musical instrument is so useful and important, especially at a young age, and sets musicing apart from all other activities. It’s also why our students are so hungry after their piano lessons. They are working out their brains and need food energy to support such exercise.
Content & concepts borrowed from Anita Collins.