Neuroscientists have made enormous breakthroughs in understanding how our brains work by monitoring them in real time. Research has shown that when the brain listens to music, various parts of the brain become active but when one plays music or creates music or plays an instrument, various parts of the brain start working which are otherwise not used as much. Almost all parts of the brain are used at once including visual, auditory, and motor cortices which amounts to a full brain workout!
The brain’s corpus callosum, the bridge between the two hemispheres also sees an increase in the volume and activity when playing music. This allows messages to get across the brain faster. Research shows that musician’s brains are wired differently than non-musicians. According to Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, a Harvard University neurologist, the two hemispheres of the brain work better together in case of musicians since their corpus callosum is bigger due to increased activity in the brain. This is said to change the way the brain works and can make learning easier. Thus, the earlier a child begins some sort of musical training, the better his learning abilities will be.
Musical training benefits a child’s brain development in such a way that will affect not only his childhood but his entire lifespan. It improves brain power to be more creative as well. New research is coming up everyday linking musical training with improved brain function as the creation of music skyrockets brain activity. According to Dr. Anita Collins, Assistant Professor of Music and Arts Education at the University of Canberra in Australia, the act of playing an instrument literally transforms the brain. For example, while playing an instrument, multiple areas of the brain are engaged for reading the music, keep time, maintain the tempo and ensure hand, eye, muscle co-ordination. The benefits of increased brain activity are enormous. It allows musicians to solve problems more efficiently and in innovative ways, not only in academic but also in social settings.
Music can increase concentration and improve hand-eye coordination
Studies show that the analytic left side and the creative right side of people who create music have a greater connection and more communication. This has many benefits including faster communication within the brain and even problem-solving abilities are said to be improved. Research shows that children who start learning a musical instrument at a young age benefit more than late starters.
People with musical training are also said to better at making decisions, processing information, memorizing and retaining data. Some researchers also say that playing an instrument has also proven to be beneficial in helping children evolve from neurological problems.
A study from Germany, recently deduced that second standard students who spent 45 minutes a week learning a musical instrument, remembered more words and lessons taught to them than those children who didn’t. This goes on to show that making music boosts memory power too especially working memory which is the ability to temporarily store and use information which helps in learning a lesson or completing a task.
Music is not only about reading notes and playing the correct chords but it also affects the brain emotionally as musical training increases the brain’s capacity to detect emotions in sound. Understanding emotional connotations and reading between the lines is easier for musicians and hence could help one in maintaining smoother relationships.
Learning music improve one’s speech processing, memory retention powers, learning ability and concentration thus helping in bridging the gaps between academic achievements. A Canadian study’s findings say that the benefits of learning music extend beyond the formative learning years. They studied older people who had learned music during their childhood and found that they could identify speech 20 percent faster than those who hadn’t. A prolonged musical training also ensures better speech processing and memory retaining even after one stops learning.
Musical training involves skills like studying notes, chords, octaves, rhythm, and meter which can be understood mathematically. There is said to be an underlying correlation between music making and mathematical ability. If one learns music, learning maths becomes that much easier and one’s improved rationale abilities prove beneficial in studying science as well.