How Adult Music Lessons Can Help Your Brain

It’s never too late to learn a new skill.

Exercising your mind by exploring new areas of interest, especially ones that are mentally challenging, is a great way to stay sharp.

In fact, researchers and scientists say that older adults who engage in activities that engage and stimulate the brain don’t just have fun. They actually improve their cognitive abilities, which could lead to long-term changes in their mental health [1].

One great way to get your mental muscles flexing is by taking adult music lessons.

Maybe you’ve always dreamed of playing music, but never had the time or resources to devote to it. Or maybe you’re just now considering it as a new hobby. Either way, it’s an excellent choice.

Before you pick up that violin or browse that songbook, let’s take a quick second to review some of the exact ways that adult music lessons help your brain.

Interested in learning more? Let’s dig in!

Adult Music Lessons Improve Sound Recognition

As you train musically, your brain begins to make connections between sounds and their meaning. That skill helps you read and play music. It can also have a long-lasting effect on your auditory ability, especially your capacity to hear and recognize constants.

A recent study tested the electrical activity present in the auditory brainstems of 44 adults, ages 55 to 76.

None had played an instrument in more than 40 years. Yet, when prompted with the syllable “da” in synthesized speech, those that had played or practiced music at some point in their life heard and responded to the sound the quickest.

See how instrument benefits your brain:

The Speech Connection

In the same way that music helps your brain process sounds, it can also help it process language. A recent study revealed that learning music helps the brain understand pitch, timing, and timbre, or tone quality [2].

As you play, your brain begins to pick up on the clarity of both consonants and vowels. This helps you more clearly hear and understand them — and ultimately — speak them.

The same study revealed that students who are not exposed to a wide range of sounds by age 5 can often have a more difficult time with speech development than those who are. The reason? Your nervous system requires auditory stimulation to grow and in the absence of it, those critical connections can loosen.

Growing Your Grey Matter

Speaking of your nervous system, let’s dig a little deeper into its relationship with music. Your central nervous system is comprised of two halves: grey matter tissue and white matter tissue. Most of your neuronal cell bodies exist in the grey matter.

Regions of grey matter in the brain are directly linked to your senses (hearing, seeing, smelling, remembering, speaking, decision-making, etc.) as well as muscle control.

Research reveals that adults who play music can actually have a larger mass of grey matter than those that don’t [3]. Some studies also reveal musicians have a larger mass of white matter too. That portion is responsible for your brain’s elasticity, or your ability to flexibly adapt to situations.

Simply but, their brains are growing in relation to the knowledge they’re intaking. As you build your neural connections, you’re helping your brain expand by enlarging its “playing field” so to speak.

Your Next Step: Learning Your Craft

If adult music lessons sound like a good fit for you, great! We’d love to provide some resources for you to learn more about your chosen field.

We provide educational and informative reviews on multiple instrument types, from violins to drums, and everything in between. We’ll help you make sure your musical investment is a sound one that you can feel good about.

If you have any questions or would like more information, feel free to leave us a comment below to get started!

Stephanie Su

Started learning music when she was four years old, Stephanie is a music teacher and a music therapist who is highly proficient in Piano, Violin, Guitar, and Ukulele. She likes to learn, teach, and share her music playing experiences.

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