“Taking up the piano or playing the guitar could change the shape and power of the brain, and improve IQ by 7 points both in adults and children. There is mounting evidence that musicians’ brains function in a different way to non-musicians’ – when a person learns how to play an instrument, the parts of the brain that control motor skills and hearing become larger and more active. Even for people over the age of 65, after 4 or 5 months of playing an instrument for an hour or week there are changes in the brain.” This is from Swiss psychologist Lutz Jancke.
Another study by the American Association for the Advancement of Science showed that learning to play an instrument in childhood has key advantages for the developing brain and may help children improve their language skills. Playing music significantly enhances the brain’s sensitivity to speech sounds, and can help both normal children and those with problems such as dyslexia and autism.
There’s a lot going for music! Not just listening, but getting involved more closely with studying music and learning to perform it. The medium doesn’t matter – you could play the banjo or a concert grand, you will achieve the same benefits.
Look at what studying music can do – these are the subjects it encompasses:
Not just being able to count up to 4! Learning about pitch and rhythm involves the same patterns as doing the most complicated of sums, but in a much more accessible way.
How is sound made? Why do different instruments produce different effects?
How can I make my own guitar? What materials will I need? How can I begin to understand how a church organ works? How do I look after my instrument and make sure I can keep it in tip-top condition?
I love singing but I’m not sure how just a person on their own can sing along to a huge orchestra and not be drowned out, without a microphone! How is that even possible? How does my body use its muscles to make sounds on instruments?
I had no idea until I studied music that it reflects all the art and politics of other countries and centuries. I learned that Beethoven was once an admirer of Napoleon, for instance. I didn’t realise that England was such a centre for musical excellence.
Music made me realise that I know some Italian apart from spaghetti! Most musical words in music come from Italian, and I’ve picked up French and German too through studying music by a variety of composers. Just listening to music mean my ears are more attuned to all sorts of sounds, and I can copy and learn other languages much easier because of that.
It’s wonderful how writing music to accompany words leads to greater expressiveness, and helps me to get my message across to the world.
Music reflects all the emotions that I feel; it makes me cry and it makes me laugh.
Dancing and movement
I can’t imagine dancing to silence! Also, when I move to music I am learning to co-ordinate my body.
Since having singing lessons, where I learned how to sing properly, I’ve gained so much confidence that I feel like a new person!
If you’d like more information about the benefits music can bring, and to bring it into your own life, please contact me, Georgina Colwell on 07946 425128, or see my website at www.musicair.co.uk. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I teach singing, violin, composition and theory.
For piano/keyboard and drumming lessons, contact George Roberts on 07738 619016 or email email@example.com.
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