It’s now widely accepted by health professionals that music and especially active participation in music is good for your brain and also for your overall sense of well-being. Playing a musical instrument is a great way to give your brain a ‘mental workout’.

Why not learn the guitar? Next to piano, the guitar is the most popular instrument in the world to learn but unlike the piano – you can take it anywhere with you.

There is a lot of research to support the benefits of music especially for children.  It has been found that children who study music and play musical instruments generally perform better in all other areas of their education, even those not associated with music.  The following excerpt from newspapers give some more information.

From “The Telegraph”

New research suggests that regularly playing an instrument changes the shape and power of the brain and may be used in therapy to improve cognitive skills.

It can even increase IQ by seven points in both children and adults, according to researchers.

Experts said there is growing evidence that musicians have structurally and functionally different brains compared with non-musicians – in particular, the areas of the brain used in processing and playing music.

From The Telegraph – “Playing a musical instrument makes you brainier” – Playing a musical instrument makes you smarter, it has been claimed. – Oct 27 2009 By Richard Alleyne

From “The Times” newspaper

Music lessons may improve memory and learning ability in young children by promoting different patterns of brain development, a study shows.

After a year of musical training, children aged between 4 and 6 performed better at a standard memory test than did children who were not taught music.

The article concludes:

Our work explores how musical training affects the way in which the brain develops. It is clear that music is good for children’s cognitive development and that music should be part of the pre-school and primary school curriculum.”

From The Times article – “Why music lessons are good for the memory” – Learning to play an instrument may affect the way in which a young brain develops – Sept 20, 2006 By Mark Henderson

Also from “The Los Angeles Times”

With age, the “plasticity” that allows experience to mold the brain so easily declines. But it doesn’t disappear. At any age, learning a challenging new set of skills such as instrumental music is likely to return cognitive dividends, says Harvard University neurologist Gottfried Schlaug. And for adults, he added, the prospect of making music can be a far more effective motivator to practice than nagging parents are to younger musicians.

“Music is sort of the perfect activity that people can engage in from young to older years. It affects how the brain develops and affects how the brain changes in structure” at any age, Schlaug says.

From the Los Angeles Times article “Music is good for you at any age” – March 01, 2010 By Melissa Healy.

Singing And The Brain

Singing is something we can all do. Singing accesses different parts of the brain than normal speech does and so produces some interesting results. For example, there are many reports of the effects that music and singing have on Alzheimer sufferers or those with other forms of dementia.

From the BBC is an interesting report called “How singing unlocks the brain “showing how singing brought marked improvements for one man with Alzheimers Disease.

I don’t know what it is that changes in the brain when people with Alzheimer’s sing, but obviously something does change and there is something very beneficial about it.

His wife said.

His personality started to change and he became much as he was before, and he was able to hold a conversation.

Its Never Too Late To Start Learning Music

There are many other studies that show how music can help reduce stress and produce positive mental benefits. These effects are much more pronounced when a person actively engages in music through playing an instrument or singing. Why not make a choice and let music become a bigger part of your life?

Article – Copyright (c) 2010 Armagh Guitar Tuition

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