Music, The Brain, and Us

From an early age, music has always been a part of our lives. Listening to every crescendo and decrescendo, we were always in tune with the flowing sound. Eventually, some of us even pick up an instrument and began to learn how to play. At a young age, I began to learn how to play the piano. Though I am no Chopin or Mozart, I can understand and play the piano to a point. That’s not the important part of this, during the few year of piano lessons my teacher would always tell me that learning how to read and play music helped me academically. I would think to myself, how could something like this help me academically?

Researching a bit more into it, I found videos and websites that talked about it. One site, which will be linked at the bottom, had a few diagrams that really help visualize what was going on. When you pick up an instrument, say for example the violin, you must perform multiple tasks. Multiple areas of the brain are active at the same time. You must read, listen, move to play, and feel the music. You are using the motor cortex, premotor cortex (dorsal), premotor cortex (ventral), frontal cortex, and the superior temporal gyrus/auditory cortex. To anyone who doesn’t understand all the medical terminology, these portions of the brain help recognize and process types motor (movement), auditory (hearing), sensory (touch), visual, and emotional responses from the body.

Now, what does this all mean for helping me succeed in my studies? Having all these portions of the brain firing all at once helps you coordinate and function doing multiple things. For example, the article mentions that learning from an early age could help strengthen the hippocampus, the portion of the brain that helps with memory and learning. So, in math, you remember how to solve equations and different types of conversions because you decided to learn and instrument you have just helped increase your ability to learn and remember. A video found on YouTube helps explain a bit more about what is happening inside the brain.

So, there you have it, music really does help one academically. Through hard work, young musicians are shaping the way they learn. Though more research is being completed, it’s a good beginning of understanding how music affects the brain.

Links to the article and video

http://portlandchamberorchestra.org/what-happens-when-the-brain-plays-a-musical-instrument/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0JKCYZ8hng

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