If you are someone who hasn’t recently picked up your guitar, saxophone, flute, recorder or piano (well you can’t really pick that one “up”) then might I point out something . . . you should!
Recently, while trying to enthuse my girls to pursue more consistent practice on their instruments, I was encouraged to read new research which supports what I always thought was true. While music is good for you, making music is even better!
According to a recent study* these are some of the benefits of playing a musical instrument regularly:
1. People over the age of 65 experienced positive changes in brain function after 4 or 5 months of playing an instrument an hour a week.
2. Playing the piano (particularly) teaches children to be more self-disciplined, attentive and better at planning.
3. Playing an instrument makes you more perceptive in interpreting the emotions of others. Musicians are able to pick out exactly what others are feeling just by the tone of their voices.
4. IQ can increase by seven points in both children and adults.
5. It becomes easier to learn foreign languages, as your memory and language skills improve.
“Hopefully the current trend in the use of musicians as a model for brain plasticity will continue . . . and extend to the field of neuropsychological rehabilitation“*.
Wow. If you played an instrument as a child then know that part of the reason you have intelligence, memory, language and empathy is down to that instrument, even if you hated it. Your parents certainly did something right!
And if you want to develop your brain in any of these areas, then it certainly is time to dust of your violin, blow the cobwebs from your trumpet, and get playing! Music is such an amazing and at times under-rated gift from our gracious God. He made us with desire to praise Him in song, to “Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals” (Psalm 150).
God wired our brains with the ability to learn to play, to sing, to write and read music, to create instruments, to create emotion through music, to lift the souls of ourselves and others, and grow our brain function by employing those “seven notes of grace”. Don’t miss out on the joy of this gracious gift!
(*The research is published online, Faculty of 1000 Biology Reports, by Lutz Jancke, a psychologist at the University of Zurich.)
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