The music smarts

You’ve probably heard about the so-called Mozart effect, which claims that exposure to classical music has a beneficial effect on brain.

No need to go and buy everything Mozart ever composed, except for the pure pleasure of listening. In early 90ties, after a long and heated struggle, scientist seem to have definitely proven that listening to (good) music sharpens one’s grey matter only momentarily. The brain reverts to being just as smart (or just as dumb) as before.

Then we had a new series of studies that claimed that there is something in that music-benefits-the-brain theory, after all.

However, it’s not so much the listening that counts as food for brain, but rather producing the music yourself. In short, you need to learn to play an instrument, because nothing activates as many areas of the brain as strumming, hitting, blowing, striking and other actions applied on an object with the aim of producing music.

However, if you are about to set off a buy a set of drums for brain-boosting purposes (as opposed to annoying-your-entire-neighbourhood purposes), hold on a sec. There is a snag. Some music teachers claim that music concepts are best absorbed by… the age of seven.

Does that mean that we are we doomed to live without this brain-boost if we happen to be a wee bit over seven years old? Not so. This article states that learning to play an instrument as an adult definitely has many benefits: it increases brain plasticity, improves cognitive abilities, relieves stress, and improves the quality of life.

What more can you ask from a set of drums, a violin, a saxophone, or a piano? (Except the added benefit of annoying your neighbours, of course). So, go ahead and choose your musial instrument on