This is Your Brain on Music

February 17, 2012

I usually don’t pay attention to fitness magazines, but I flipped through this one the other day and came across some information I thought would be good to share.  This came from Self Magazine September 2011 and is copied verbatim.

She’s a Brainiac

Remember when September meant whipping your mind into shape? It still can!

1. Looking closer

“The ability to focus is a dying art”, says Richard Restak, M.D. author of Think Smart. His Rx: Zero in on something (a coffee cup, flower, view).  Then close your eyes and mentally reconstruct every detail.  Do this 15 minutes a day “and you’ll feel a mastery in your attentional powers”.

2. N-back to school

N-back exercises are proven to increase both fluid intelligence and dopamine receptros. (ANd maybe if you enough of them, you’ll understand that sentence.)  These memory games challenge you to track visual or sound cues – e.g. noting when a certain letter repeats and recallinig how many pages back you first saw it.  The BetterBrain app (iOS $2.99) lets you do them on your lunch hour.

3. Nimble fingers, nimble mind

Up to one quarter of your motor cortex – the part of your brain that controls all body movement – is devoted to your hands.  Whether it’s sewing or sketching, a hobby that demands fine finger control will keep your brain sharp and actually extend your life, Dr. Restak says.

4. 88 Keys to Health

Musical training helps maintain healthy brain function, a 2011 study in Neuropsychology shows.  Don’t put off those piano or guitar lessons. “Building up your cognitive reserve is like building up bone density,” says study author Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, PhD. “The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be”.

– Jacob Sager Weinstein

As if we needed more reasons that being a musician is a good thing, numbers 3 and 4 prove that music practice will actually extend our lives.  Get me to a practice room! 🙂

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