Healthy Brain, Healthy Life
We all enjoy listening to music for fun, but did you know that music also has the potential to positively affect your health? There have been many studies done at Johns Hopkins and other top tier universities that show the positive effects music has on your brain’s ability to learn, remember, and process new information. Learning a musical instrument has shown to increase the grey matter growth in areas of the brain associated with learning, memory, and emotions. These positive effects are not just limited to the developing brains of children, but also affect adults where music has been proven to ward off the effects of aging and Alzheimer's disease. It’s similar to exercise, but instead of growing strength and muscle you are nurturing your mental facilities and creativity.
Music Therapy is a growing field that has shown incredible evidence of the power music has to heal, treat, and comfort those with physical and mental illnesses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder. We can see examples of the positivity of music all around us. For example, next time you are in a public place like a mall, restaurant, or store try to notice if there is any background music playing. There will likely be some upbeat, happy music playing to give patrons a sense of comfort and safety. This speaks to the power of music to create a positive atmosphere and sense of relaxation.
There is also the stress-relief benefits of listening and playing music. With the pace of life growing faster by the day, it’s nice to have an activity to fall back on that can bring some peace into a busy schedule. The cognitive benefits of learning an instrument will spill over into other areas of your life such as work and family, giving you increased focus and patience in areas wholly unrelated to music itself. Music is also a great activity for parents and children to participate in together. My dad inspired me to pick up the guitar when I was younger and now we get to enjoy quality time together when we sit down and play.
Socializing Through Music
There are also positive social aspects of music for all age groups. When I look back on my elementary and middle-school music classes I remember having a great time learning and playing music with others. It’s an inherently social activity that even I as a shy quiet kid was able to fully participate and find belonging in. There was a recent study that measured the heart rate of singers in a choir and they found that after singing together for a few minutes their heartbeats and breathing became synchronized. There is an undeniable physical and psychological connection made when two or more people play music together. Giving your kids the opportunities offered in private lessons with companies like Zera Music Co will also give them an outlet to learn the language of music, to play in recitals in order to grow their creative confidence, and participate in music camps where they can meet other musicians their age. It’s truly amazing how music benefits each and every person’s health and wellness. While listening to music is great, learning to play a musical instrument is really where the cognitive benefits are most noticeable. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how little you know about music, by choosing to learn an instrument you are making a positive step towards your health and happiness.