There are numerous factors that may influence the way our brains develop and maintain throughout our lives, but one that has been known to show positive impacts here in several ways is the presence of music. From learning a musical instrument to simply listening to music regularly and maintaining it as part of your life, there are multiple mental health and cognitive benefits that come with making and enjoying music.
At Piano Central Studios, we’re very focused on the ways our music lessons may positively impact all areas of brain development and health. For instance, our Kindermusik program, geared toward young children ranging from newborns to seven years old, is specifically designed to not only increase love of music, but to do so in ways that also enhance cognitive development. Here are some of the ways that music helps not only with brain development from a very young age, but also with mental health and well-being throughout one’s entire life.
Developing Motor Skills and Control
One of the most notable benefits of music for brain development is the way that music enhances motor skills and control. From young children first learning to play an instrument to seniors continuing to play music into their golden years, music has a significant impact. The coordination and dexterity required for playing an instrument helps to improve these skills in other areas of life as well.
For instance, children who take piano lessons have been shown to excel in other tasks that require coordination and motor skills, such as sports. One study even found that children who learned a musical instrument had better fine motor skills than those who didn’t. Playing an instrument requires use of both sides of the brain simultaneously, which can help to increase the communication between the two hemispheres.
In addition, music has also been shown to be helpful for those suffering from conditions that affect motor skills, such as Parkinson’s disease and cerebral palsy. Research has found that patients with Parkinson’s who took part in weekly drumming sessions had improved motor function and quality of life. This is just one of numerous examples where music has a major impact not just during the early years of life, but also throughout one’s lifetime.
For many people, music is a way to express themselves and connect with others. This is evident not just in the popularity of musical performances and events, but also in the way music is used in therapy.
A number of studies have shown that music therapy can be effective in treating conditions that affect communication, such as autism. Many studies have shown that children with autism who took part in music therapy had improved social skills, communication, and behavior.
Music therapy has also been shown to be helpful for those who have suffered a stroke. In one study, stroke patients who participated in music therapy had improved language function and motor skills. Music activates a number of different areas of the brain, including those responsible for language and motor function.
In addition to its therapeutic benefits, music can also be used as a way to improve communication in everyday life. Music can be used to help people with social anxiety disorder feel more comfortable in social situations. Singing or playing an instrument also gives us a beautiful way to express our deepest feelings, imagination, and creativity.
Another important aspect of cognitive development and mental health is self-awareness, which has to do with our ability to understand and regulate one’s own emotions. Music has been shown to be helpful for increasing self-awareness in both children and adults.
For example, one study showed that children who took part in music therapy had improved self-awareness and social skills. In another study, adults who listened to music had increased self-awareness and empathy.
No matter our age, singing or playing an instrument gives us an outlet for self-expression, a way to break out of our shells, and learn to work together as we make music together. It gives us confidence and a wonderful sense of achievement and self-accomplishment.
Strengthening Memory Function
From learning the parts of a new song to memorizing it in its entirety, learning and performing music relies on the use of memory, both short-term and long-term. The ability to store and recall information is an important part of cognitive function, and music has been shown to be helpful for strengthening these functions.
For instance, research has shown that listening to music can help improve memory in both children and adults. In another study, it was found that adults who listened to music had increased verbal recall.
Maestro Eduardo Marturet has pointed out that “…research has shown that participation in music at an early age can help improve a child’s learning ability and memory by stimulating different patterns of brain development.”
Combating Cognitive Decline
The process of aging can also include a decline in cognitive function, whether it be a decline in memory, reasoning skills, or other abilities that are related to thinking, processing, or cognitive functioning.
Older adults who listen to music regularly have been found to have a reduced risk of cognitive decline, including a lower risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s even better than listening to music is making music, either singing or playing an instrument. Singing or playing an instrument has been described as equivalent to a “whole-brain workout.” This is why our mission here at Piano Central Studios is bold and far-reaching – we are here to nourish hearts and MINDS with music making for LIFE. As this articles summarizes, your brain will thank you for learning to sing or play an instrument!
As you can see, music can have a significant and positive impact on brain development and mental health. Whether it’s used for therapy or simply as a way to relax, listening to and making music can have a positive effect on our cognitive and emotional well-being, now and for the rest of our lives.
To get started in Kindermusik classes or music lessons, email us at [email protected] or give us a call at 864-232-5010. We’d love to help you get started on a journey that ultimately leads to music making for life!