From boosting cognitive function to helping treat anxiety and depression, learn the profound effects of music on the brain.
How does music affect the brain? Here we explore how listening to music and playing music affects the brain in different ways.
Discover the Surprising Effects of Music
You know that playing an instrument is great for your brain, but did you know that there are specific benefits to playing the guitar?
Playing the guitar has been shown to have a positive effect on cognitive abilities such as memory, focus, and creativity. It can also help improve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your mental well-being, playing the guitar is a great choice. It’s fun, social, a great way to express yourself creatively and rewarding – and you can do it anywhere!
It’s never too late to start – even if you’ve never played before!
How Brain Works
The brain is not only our home and protector, but it also controls everything from thought to movement. It is a sophisticated organ that performs many vital functions for the body, such as thought process and memory storage; it also controls everything from emotion to motor skills; even things like touch, vision, breathing, temperature control, hunger, and every other bodily function.
To put it another way, it governs our balance, walking, talking, and eating. It manages and regulates our breathing, blood circulation, and heart rate. Also, the central nervous system, or CNS, is made up of the brain and spinal cord that extends outwards like a nerve network all around your body!
The human brain is the most complex object in the known universe. It consists of many different parts that all work together to perform various functions.
These different parts can be divided into three main categories:
- The cerebrum, which is responsible for higher functions such as thinking and planning;
- The cerebellum, which coordinates movement; and
- The brainstem, which controls basic functions such as breathing and heart rate.
Each of these parts is further divided into smaller regions that are responsible for specific functions.
For example, the cerebrum is divided into two hemispheres: the left hemisphere, which is responsible for language and logic; and the right hemisphere, which is responsible for creativity and intuition.
Within the cerebrum, there are four main lobes: the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the temporal lobe, and the occipital lobe.
Each of these lobes is responsible for different functions.
- The frontal lobe is responsible for things like decision-making, problem-solving, and planning.
- The parietal lobe is responsible for processing information from the senses, such as touch and sight.
- The temporal lobe is responsible for things like memory and hearing.
- The occipital lobe is responsible for vision.
All of these different parts of the brain work together to allow us to think, feel, and move.
The brain is a fascinating organ, and scientists are still learning about how it works. We do know that the brain is constantly changing, growing, and adapting to new experiences. This process is known as neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections between brain cells. This process allows the brain to adapt and change in response to new experiences, learn new information, and create new memories.
Fascinating Effects of Music on the Brain
You’ve probably heard that listening to music can be good for your mental health. Did you know that performing music provides more benefits than listening to music?
“Playing music is the brain’s equivalent of a full-body workout.” Anita Collins, TED-Ed
Here’s how music affects the brain: Listening vs. Playing Music
Effects of Listening to Music
When we listen to music, our brains process a number of things at once. We recognize pitch, melody, harmony, and rhythm. We also process the emotional content of the song and any memories or associations that come up for us. All of this happens in different areas of the brain.
Pitch is processed in the auditory cortex, which is located in the temporal lobe. Melody and harmony are processed in the motor cortex, which is located in the frontal lobe. Rhythm is processed in the cerebellum.
The emotional content of music is processed in the limbic system, which includes the amygdala and hippocampus. These are located in the temporal lobe. The memories and associations that we have with music are processed in the hippocampus.
All of these different processes happen at the same time, and they all work together to create our experience of listening to music.
Not only is music good for the brain, but it’s also good for the soul. Music has a way of touching our emotions and connecting us to others. It can be a powerful tool for self-expression and communication.
Effects of Playing Music
It’s like fireworks going off in various locations of your brain when a musician picks up their instrument!
Listening to music engages our minds in interesting activities, but playing an instrument is like doing a full-body workout. The neuroscientists saw that multiple parts of your body are engaged at once while processing intricate information quickly and efficiently!
The human brain is an amazing organ that has the ability to grow and change with time. Playing a musical instrument engages almost all of the brain’s areas at once, especially those parts responsible for vision — hearing–and movement/coordination skills. As with any other physical activity, diligent, organized practice playing music improves those brain functions, allowing us to apply that strength to other activities.
The most apparent distinction between listening to music and playing it is that, in order to play a song, it requires good motor skills, which are governed by both hemispheres of the brain.
Even with simple songs, our brains are working hard to process a lot of information. We have to keep track of the melody, harmony, and rhythm, as well as our own movement. We also have to pay attention to what we’re doing and coordinate our hands and feet.
It is fascinating to think about how different functions of the brain are activated when we play music. The brain functions that are impacted by playing music include motor skills, memory, attention, perception, and creativity.
When we play music, we use both the auditory and motor regions of our brain. The motor region is responsible for movement, so when we play an instrument, that part of the brain is very active. Studies have shown that playing a musical instrument can actually increase the size of the motor cortex!
All of this happens in different parts of the brain. The motor cortex is responsible for coordinating movement. The auditory cortex processes sound. The cerebellum processes rhythm. And the prefrontal cortex is responsible for attention and focus.
Playing music requires a lot of brain power!
5 Benefits of Playing Guitar
Now that we know how playing music affects the brain, let’s look at some of the specific benefits of playing guitar. So, what are the benefits of playing guitar?
A Great Way to Exercise Neuroplasticity
Playing music is a great way to exercise neuroplasticity because it engages multiple areas of the brain at once.
When you play the guitar, you are using your hands, eyes, ears, and brain all at the same time. This level of engagement allows you to create new neural pathways and connections.
Improves Memory and Cognitive Skills
First, playing guitar can improve your memory and cognitive skills by stimulating the brain. Playing guitar also requires coordination, timing, and planning, which can all help to keep the brain healthy and active. A study that was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that people who played an instrument had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to improving memory and cognitive skills, playing guitar can also help to relieve stress. A study that was published in the Journal of Music Therapy found that people who played guitar had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Lowers Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
The study found that playing guitar can help to reduce stress by providing a distraction from stressful thoughts and emotions. Playing guitar can also help to lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Improves Brain Power
The benefits of playing guitar go beyond just developing your musical skills. You’ll also be doing something good for your brain. A study that was published found that playing guitar can improve brain power.
People who played guitar had increased activity in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. These are the areas of the brain that are responsible for memory, learning, and executive function.
Whether you’re looking to improve your brain power or just want to enjoy the benefits of music, playing guitar is a great option!
There are many benefits to playing guitar, including improving memory and cognitive skills, relieving stress, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, and improving brain power. If you’re looking for a fun and rewarding activity, look no further than picking up a guitar!
Check out our beginner guitar lessons today! We can’t wait to help you get started on your musical journey!