Remember when Nintendo ingeniously introduced it’s ‘Brain Training’ gaming franchise, and everyone was hooked on the idea that they could actually decrease their brain age?(LOL). These games, it was thought, helped users to ‘train’ their brains little-by-little each day by playing short quizzes and games aimed at promoting activity in different areas of the brain.
One year after it’s release, however, a group of neuroscientists and psychologists have come forward in saying that the games creators, Lumosity were, in fact, completely wrong. The company was fined a hefty $2 million and ordered to recompensate anyone who bought into the brain training franchise.
Contrary to the belief that technology has the ability to heal all, researchers now say that activities such as playing an instrument are more beneficial for brain health for both children and adults, and can even help speed up the recovery from brain injuries.
Start them young, but it’s never too late…
It’s thought that learning to play a musical instrument at a young age helps promote cognitive development as well as encourages participation and motivation. Scientifically speaking, playing music involves processing information from three senses simultaneously – vision, hearing, and touch – enveloping the central nervous systems. As well as this, playing an instrument also helps in developing excellent motor skills.
Brain scans have now shown us that areas of the brain are significantly larger in musicians than in non-music players, and, according to this report from The Guardian, the brain areas involved in movement, hearing, and visuospatial abilities also appear to be larger in professional keyboard players. And, the area devoted to processing touch sensations from the left hand is increased in violinists.
Not convinced yet? Playing a musical instrument has the potential ability to protect against dementia and cognitive impairment and can even boost speech processing and learning in children with dyslexia – pretty impressive huh? Regardless of the magnificent scientific benefits that it has, music is really a special phenomenon. What else has the ability to transport you back to a place or time than music? Or make every hair on your body stand straight?
So, while maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help keep your body and brain in tip-top shape, music, it seems, is one of the most effective methods of ‘brain training’ out there. Why not find out where music classes take place in your area?