Playing the Piano Benefits Your Brain

08/24/2014 1:36 pm


Music Stirs Up Brain Activity

This video from TedTV simply blew me away! The fact that listening to music is beneficial to humans has been known for a long time and there is hardly a culture that we can think of where music isn’t important. However, the fact that playing an actual instrument, like the piano or the bass increases your brain activity even more is a wonderful surprise to read about.

In this wonderfully explained lesson on Ted-Ed, watch how it is explained that actually playing an instrument can light up you brain activity like a full-body workout. The link between complex mathematical equations and music has long been studied and one of the aspects of piano and music that drew me in when I was younger was the formulaic nature of music with the additional random possibilities that our own creative abilities can introduce into that equation. It was the perfect combination of logic and creativity that I had found and it resonated with the creator and logical thinker inside of me.

As much as I always wanted to be thought of as an “artistic” type, there was always a part of me that enjoyed finding out how things worked, systems and logic. Thus, music and piano, including composition got me, hook, line an sinker. Please watch this eye-opening video and let me know what you think. Have you had the same experience with playing an instrument? What instruments do you play, piano? Violin? Drums? Oboe?

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? Anita Collins 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.

Lesson by Anita Collins, animation by Sharon Colman Graham.


1 Comment

  • Meredith Willis

    I really enjoyed learning about Neuroscience and Music through this video that you have shared. It has been my own personal experience that all Fine Arts tend to stimulate cognitive growth in their own magical ways. However, the question becomes which Fine Art’s discipline targets more areas of the brain all at once?
    I have personally embraced many different forms of Fine Arts over the years. These disciplines of arts include piano, drawing, photography, creative writing and dancing just to name a few of my favorites. In college, I enjoyed the experience of listening to classical music while creating pottery, painting, drawing and photography; the Mozart Effect. Until just recently, listening to music and creating art has been the most exciting experience artistically. Now that I am learning that the piano proves to challenge that college experience on a most intellectually stimulating manner.

    I would strongly agree with the findings of Neuroscience. Learning the piano proves to be the most challenging Fine Arts discipline overall. As I continue to learn the piano, I can see how playing a musical instrument gives an overall full body/mind workout and would stimulate cognitive growth on so many intense levels. Music is not only expressive it appears to stimulate an entire universe of thinking tools. These thinking tools include pattern recognition and development; mental representations of what is observed or imagined; symbolic, allegorical and metaphorical representations; detailed observations of the world; and abstraction from complexity (2014 ASA). While listening to music tends to stimulate visual imagery it also opens the awareness of one’s abilities to recall memories and emotions. A melodic tune connects with pleasant feeling and dissonant sounds produce more unpleasant feelings. Creating music challenges my coordination, counting fundamentals, decoding grouping patterns. Time and space reasoning form relationships with intervals of ratio and their frequencies.