We've all been to that party where an average looking guy is sitting in the corner, calmly playing the guitar while women with hearts in their eyes surround him. You could've sworn that the whole 'playing an instrument makes you more attractive' idea was a myth - until you noticed the guitar guy at the party scoring some major points with the ladies.
Reading music and moving your fingers in a precise manner at the same time takes a lot more brainpower than hitting the gym to do some bench presses. Not that there's anything wrong with the latter, but you get my point.
Here are five interesting ways playing an instrument, or at least learning to do so, benefits your brain and overall mental edge:
1. It improves hand-eye coordination
It's no surprise that learning the skills to play an instrument trains your motor skills. Whether you're delicately moving your fingers on that piano or confidently strumming on the guitar, fireworks will start blasting on the areas of your brain controlling motor actions.
Improving your motor skills through music can help in other areas, such as sports or gaming. So yes, picking up that guitar and genuinely learning the different notes could lead to a win next time you challenge your mate to a game of FIFA.
2. It engages pretty much every single area of the brain, at once
Scientists were mesmerized when they first examined the brain activity of someone while they played a musical instrument. It turns out that nearly every part of the brain becomes active while you stroke those violin strings, giving your brain a full workout. More specifically, the visual area lights up while you are reading music or choosing which drum to hit next. The auditory part gets worked as you listen to the sounds you're making and ensuring that you're not giving your neighbors a headache, and of course, the motor area is where all the hand movement signaling takes place.
All these different areas communicate with each other, allowing you to play that song, one note at a time. The more you practice this brain workout, the more strengthened these skills become, meaning you can think sharper and essentially, get smarter.
3. It makes you way more creative than the rest
When first learning an instrument, you may not be able to generate a lot of ideas, but your creative juices will definitely start to flow over time. Think about it, once you've mastered five to 10 notes on that guitar, it's natural that you would start to experiment and create your own melodies. This boosts creativity, which is a skill that has been proven to create more job opportunities and fun social interactions.
Playing an instrument has been shown to make some enormous physiological changes to our bodies. For instance, playing a classical tune can help "slow the pulse and heart rate, lower blood pressure, and decrease the levels of stress hormones," as stated on PsychCentral.com.
Listening to yourself play a beautiful tune also reduces anxiety and boosts confidence, which leads to improved mood and overall mindset. When stress levels are low, our brains are more capable of making rational decisions, analyzing difficult situations and accessing memory.
This one's a no-brainer! By truly learning how to play an instrument, you are training your spatial-temporal skills, which will lead to a larger memory capacity. That's right, those who play music are capable of remembering more things than you ever will be (unless you join them!). Maybe it's time to check out those music lessons again - your mornings before work will be less stressful because you will finally remember where you put your car keys!
And sure, it'll take some time to get good, but think about the long-run and how proud of yourself you will be once you finally are able to play some tunes on that guitar.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Lumonol. It has been republished here with permission.
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