Music and Your Brain

    I’m sure that at one point in your life your parents pushed you to try and pick up an instrument or take some sort of music lessons. Many of you probably thought they just wanted to torture you or get you out of the house for thirty minutes, but, in reality, there are endless benefits of playing an instrument. It’s even been suggested that just listening to music can have positive effects on the brain.

    Playing an instrument forces the brain to work in ways that playing sports or reading doesn’t. It forces you to develop hand-eye coordination and a sense of rhythm. Studies have shown that the longer one plays music during their childhood, the faster their brain can respond to speech sound. It has also been proven that music can help promote cognitive skills such as reading and speech. Listening to music when you are stressed out or worried can make you feel more relaxed than taking anti-anxiety medication, and downloading a few songs is far less expensive than buying prescription drugs. The studies don’t stop here, though. Many scientists are currently examining the other effects of music on the brain, and new findings are being released all of the time.

    Playing an instrument is also a unique way to express your individuality. There are thousands of instruments out there and thousands of styles of music to compliment your personality. For those who listen to sappy, emotional ballads, learning how to play the piano might be a good fit. For those who enjoy more upbeat, rock music, picking up the drums could be a good idea. I myself have been playing the drums for six years, and I just recently picked up the piano and the guitar. I find it relaxing to play my emotions out in an instrument, and I believe that I’m sharper now because teaching myself how to play takes a lot of focus and concentration.

    Music can make you laugh, cry, smile, get angry, and bring up any emotion imaginable. It can also increase the performance level of your brain at the same time. Finding the right instrument for you can help you express yourself in a way that also relieves stress and stimulates the brain. In short, picking up an instrument is good for your health and can help you be you.

    Olivia Bohnsack is an assistant martial arts instuctor, and she’s been training for six years. She is currently working on getting her first degree black belt. Because math and science are her favorite subjects, she hopes to work in the medical field someday. She enjoys playing tennis, running track, practicing martial arts, and spending time with her family and friends. Music plays an important role in her life. Whether it’s playing the drums, belting out her favorite songs, or listening to Vampire Weekend, there’s always music involved. She’s your typical fun-loving, studious, empathetic teenager so feel free to ask her questions! Email her at 6bohnsack@arrowheadschools.org.

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