How playing an instrument benefits your brain

When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? This lesson by Anita Collins of the University of Canberra explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout. The clip is 4m 44s long.

Research has shown that learning a musical instrument involves the motor, visual and auditory cortices all at the same time and can enhance reading skills, memory systems, executive function and general cognitive function. Recent research has found the ability for a child to keep a steady beat is an indication that, neurologically, they are ready to begin reading.

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