How playing an instrument benefits your brain
When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout.
What's going on?
Educator Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians' brains when they play and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.
Want to know a little more click the button below to watch this animated TED Talk
We keep learning through life
Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences proposes that people are not born with all of the intelligence they will ever have. We keep learning.
As an adult you’ll already know yourself and have a fair idea of what you are good at. There has been a boom in the research for adult learning.
Knowles’s andragogical theory is comprised of six principles:
- Adults are self-directed learners
- Adults accumulate experience that becomes an increasingly rich resource for learning
- Readiness to learn is related to social roles
- Adults want immediate application of knowledge (problem-centered orientation)
- Adults tend to be internally motivated
- Adults need to know the reason or learning something
Do you see yourself in Knowles’s andragogical theory?
Learning music is a practice.
It has no ending. It’s the art of doing. It is time well spent.
Anita Collins (a leading Australian Music Researcher) finds that playing music uses the entire body.
I work with lots of adults and adult learners this is what some of them say about learning music and what it means to them...
"It feeds my soul" (Jen 46)
"Makes me happy and challenges my brain in different ways" (Jenna 34)
"Music is ‘me’ time" (Kim 42)
"Helps me unwind and relax" (Lewis 18)
"Music and learning piano takes up my whole mind and leaves no room for worries and problems of the world" (Niklas 36)
"Great fun, escapism from stress. Goal is to play better than my kids one day! Ha, ha!!" (Simone 47)
"Listening to music, and playing it, takes me to another (happy) place" (Ian 69)
Music – a collection of maths, structures and physics, expressed as fluid sound…
An escape from…
An escape to…
Exercise for my old brain
Profound relaxation and challenges my old brain
Makes me happy
The old bloke (Keith 67)
So you think you're too busy to learn music.
People, and parents in particular, juggle many balls!
It is possible to carve out just that bit of special time to nourish yourself with music. The better you feel the more you can be there your family.
We need joy. We can make time for that. I find making music just as nourishing as eating and breathing.
So how much time do you need?
It’s up to you. The more your practice the more progress you’ll make, 20mins a day is a good place to start, 5 days a week.
Does guilt work?
Not really, so don’t bother feeling guilty. Set your self a routine and see if you can make that a habit. Ditch the word “should”. Be kind to yourself. If you miss a practice there’s always tomorrow.
Here are some tips for finding time for music that I find work with most adults.
If you choose to practice with the kids around think about what a great role model you are for them!
Your music can be just for you or as a family thing. You’ll know what suits you best.
Used to learn an instrument and gave it up?
Believe it or not your ability to play music is still there.
We can look at the brain like a library, some times we store music in far away bookshelves but it’s still there, and it's possible to bring back to the front of your mind just by making music again.
It taps into our memory through emotion, touch and aural responses. Some of my adults say they used to hate their lessons as a child so quit as soon as they could.
Whatever way you look at it music brings a set of actions into your life that can bring you a great deal of joy and happiness.
I hope you agree and will come and join me at Brookfield Music School. We cater for all ages and stages.