Music is an amazing art form that can bring so many different people together in beautiful ways. Whether its cultural significance, bonding over favourite artists, sharing playlists, or attending live shows; music brings us together.
Personally, I love listening to music from a wide variety of genres, and I’m always looking for new artists to enjoy. Moreover, if there’s a show in my area you can bet I’m there! Or at the very least, begging my friends to come to it with me.
But beyond listening to music, writing and playing music can be an excellent outlet for creativity and an effective way to exercise different muscles of our brains.
In fact, playing an instrument can be considered a “full brain mental workout” (Stoklosa, 2016), as the activity involves the interconnectedness between all of: motor, sensory, auditory, visual, and emotional components of the central and peripheral nervous systems (Stoklosa, 2016).
These benefits are enhanced in children, as their brains are not fully matured yet. Therefore, communication between the left and right sides of their brain is rewired and strengthed as they practice their instrument (Stoklosa, 2016).
As a result, playing an instrument from a young age helps one grow up to become a more effective problem solver, and provides one the ability to process more complex information (Stoklosa, 2016). These results are observed in both academic and social settings.
There is also significant research to support improvements in learning abilities and memory retention, with changes and developments occurring in the hippocampus region of the brain (Stoklosa, 2016).
On top of these, learning an instrument can be an amazing creative or emotional outlet, help relieve anxiety, improve hand-eye coordination, and is a lot of fun!
The benefits don’t stop there, but I think you get the idea! At the bottom of this post I will link more interesting research on the topic for you to explore further, if you’re interested.
Now, while all of these benefits are fantastic, most of us don’t consider these when we pick up an instrument for the first time. I know I certainly didn’t.
Personally, at 10 years old, I decided to learn guitar because I wanted be like Taylor Swift.
But thats the beauty of it, everyone derives inspiration from different places. And finding joy in such an activity makes it feel less like a “mental workout”, and more like a fun hobby (that happens to be healthy for our brains!)
It is also important to note that while benefits are enhanced in childhood, anyone can reap these benefits. Moreover, you can start playing an instrument at anytime, its never to late to learn a new skill!
That being said, here are links to some of my favourite, beginner-friendly songs to play on the guitar!
Stoklosa, A.R. (2016). Instruments of Knowledge: Music and the Brain. The Review, 17(12). https://fisherpub.sjf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1187&context=ur#:~:text
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