How Playing an Instrument Makes You Smarter
Science has shown that musical training can change brain structure and function for the better. It can also improve long-term memory and lead to better brain development for those who start at a young age. Furthermore, musicians tend to be more mentally alert, according to new research from a University of Montreal study.
"The more we know about the impact of music on really basic sensory processes, the more we can apply musical training to individuals who might have slower reaction times," said lead researcher Simon Landry.
"As people get older, for example, we know their reaction times get slower," said Landry. "So if we know that playing a musical instrument increases reaction times, then maybe playing an instrument will be helpful for them."
Previously, Landry found that musicians have faster auditory, tactile, and audio-tactile reaction times. Musicians also have an altered statistical use of multisensory information. This means that they're better at integrating the inputs from various senses.
"Music probably does something unique," explains neuropsychologist Catherine Loveday of the University of Westminster. "It stimulates the brain in a very powerful way because of our emotional connection with it."
Unlike brain games, playing an instrument is a rich and complex experience. This is because it's integrating information from the senses of vision, hearing, and touch, along with fine movements. This can result in long-lasting changes in the brain. These can be applicable in the business world.