Can playing an instrument make you a genius?


Have you ever watched a musician playing an
instrument? If you are older than 4, you most probably
have. It seems so simple, elegant and easy, doesn’t
it? The musician just moves his fingers on the
instrument and you are thrown on the emotional roller-coaster the music produces. You may wonder how is this person capable
of remembering all of those notes and combining them in the most perfect of ways? The truth is that even though a musician looks
calm and steady, there is a party going on inside of his brain every time he picks up
the instrument. And this party separates him from all the
other people in the room.. And you might say, well how do we know there
is a difference between a musician’s and non musician’s brain, and if there is one,
what’s causing it? If we go deep inside the brain we can see
what happens there during regular activities such as reading and writing and compare that
to what happens while listening or playing music. Recently, neuroscientists were able to monitor
people’s brains in real time by connecting them to a machine which lights up and shows
which areas of the brain are responsible for each activity. So when you are talking for example, a small
light in the left hemisphere of the brain will light up on the screen. On the other hand when you are drawing a painting,
a light on the right hemisphere will light up. Interestingly enough when when they connected
a musician playing an instrument to the machine they saw multiple parts of the brain lighting
up and simultaneously processing different information. Order, fastness and interrelation were noticed. Almost every area of the brain seemed engaged
at once. So it turns out that, Playing an instrument
involves the interconnectedness between several components present in the brain. Most notably the motor, sensory, visual, and
auditory components of the nervous system. This in turn results in positive effects
on reasoning, fine motor skills, learning and memory, resulting in an overall more capable
and efficient brain.. And with this full brain workout that involves
the artistic and aesthetic dimensions of learning that is a unique of playing an instrument,
musicians are able to apply this newly-gained strength to all other activities as well. We all have that one situation when we are
headed to the store to buy some coffee, and then when we get inside the store and we buy
everything else, but the coffee. Well, a musician would most likely not have
this problem, because his memory is better organized than ours. As stated in a paper by Anne Stoklosa based
on research by Anita Collins: This memory enhancement is attributed to the musicians
highly connected brains giving a memory multiple tags. This process is subconsciously trained when
learning to play an instrument because of the interconnectedness between the visual,
auditory, and motor functioning and activity going on in the brain when we play a musical
instrument. Pretty neat.. Now let’s go back inside the brain again. We know that the brain is divided into two
hemispheres, the left being the logical and linguistic one, and the right being the creative. There is a bridge between them called the
corpus callosum, a massive bundle of nerve fibres connecting the two sides. And scientists found that this ‘bridge‘
has bigger volume and activity within musicians, allowing the two hemispheres to interact more
effectively with each other enabling them to solve academic and social problems more
efficiently. So not only that musicians brains are anatomically
different, they also function on different and more divergent ways. They can use their increased cognitive and
emotional skills in almost all aspects of life. You probably already feel a bit jealous because
they get to use their brain on a whole nother level, and you probably are still wondering
if playing an instrument will make you a genius? Are the long hours of practicing in front
of the piano the secret formula to unlocking the full potential of your brain? Even though we can’t promise you that you
will become the next Einstein (anyway he played the violin so there’s that), the
great news is that according to a recent research- anyone who plays an instrument, even if he
started at an old age, showed some kind of increased brain functioning. It’s actually a good prevention for old
age brain diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s. So, even though there is still a lot of research
to be done on the subject, we’re are more sure than ever that playing an instrument
is one of the most demanding and rewarding activities for your brain. This remarkable sensory rich process is one
of the best exercises you can provide for your brain. Why stop with only exercising your body, when
you can also exercise your mind.. And now you know, and it’s ultimately your choice,
whether you decide to you pick up the instrument and make some noise.. But as always, i’ll see you in the
next one.