Music and the Brain

There are lots of studies out there about how listening to music improves brain function and memory, but those of us who play music know that somehow all of those hours of practicing and listening and reading and practicing some more have changed us.  It changes the chemical and physical makeup of our brains.  Much like meditation, playing music induces measurable differences in our brains.

I absolutely love this TED talk on what happens inside musicians’ brains.

playing-musicI often tell my students that practicing is not just about performing, it’s about learning how to train their brains.  It’s about creating strategies to make a task that you have to think about into an instinct.  This is a powerful tool for all areas of life.  It helps with memory and learning, fine motor skills, and creates new neurological pathways and connections.  But more than all of this, music makes us happy.  And music helps us make others happy.  And that is truly awesome.

Here’s an excellent summation of research on music and the brain.

If you want to read more about the effect of meditation on the brain, here’s the link.

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