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How Playing Music Can Rewire Your Brain

How Playing Music Can Rewire Your Brain

Music is truly one of the most amazing things the human mind has come up with! There is not a single person in the world who doesn’t like some piece of music, or some song. Everybody likes listening to music, some while studying, while sleeping, working, or hanging out with friends. Music invokes various emotions in us, depending on what type of music you are listening to. It can help you get through hard times, enhance happy moments, and even teach you valuable life lessons. This is why musicians tend to have different thinking and learning patterns, compared to people who just listen to music casually.

Brain functions and music are deeply connected. When children start playing and learning about music, their brain starts to pay more attention to certain sounds and, as they develop musically, it processes those sounds to the sharpest detail. A study at Stanford, which was performed by taking images of people listening to short lasting symphonies, has shown many interesting insights into how our brain can understand the world through sounds.

This whole research process has shown that music is directly connected to parts of the brain involved in decision making, paying attention, concentration and memory. The points when the brain had the most activity were surprisingly the moments when there was silence in between music.

How music changes people and their thinking

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Musician with fedora

    Over the past decade, music and its influence on people has been subjected to many studies and scientific research. Many recent ones have shown that the left and right hemispheres of musicians are much more connected. Many scientists have used functional magnetic resonance imaging, also called FMRI, to determine what brain parts are being used the most during a certain activity. A music study conducted at Stanford used this technology and has determined that many music techniques can help our brain organize incoming information in a much better way. Some people also claim that your brain performs the most beneficial activities when you play or listen to music.

    You get confidence and intellectual capacities

    Rory Gallagher jumping on stage

      No matter if music is your hobby or a career choice, you have a lot to be thankful because music has empowered you with many attributes that you might not even notice. One type of music in particular has the most visible effect on the people who play and create it – Rock music! Rock musicians (or any other hard music genre) tend to have empowering thoughts about themselves and it affects their behavior deeply.

      Powerful music with heavy tunes encourages deeper, abstract, and visionary thinking with an increased level of illusionary control – these are all attributes which are frequently associated with intellectually strong people. Not many people are musicians and because of that, this group of people deserve a special place in society. This will make you will feel special and give you a huge confidence boost. The fact that you will have your own fan base who appreciates your work is also appealing and it can make you feel like a god!

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      You get a concentration boost

      Performing on stage

        If you are musician whose interest is mostly classical and baroque music, then you probably have improved concentration, memory, and focus. Ambient music can help you develop relaxed alertness and a down to earth outlook on the world. Music with lyrics is generally proven to be more distracting for your brain when you listen to it because music and lyrics will compete for the brain’s attention and this can make it harder for you to concentrate and focus on one thing at a time.

        However, with some people, this can develop the ability to focus even better! When you can hear the lyrics and all the other instruments in one song, then you will find it a lot easier to listen to someone while there is a big crowd of people around you making noise. When a guitarist plays his guitar and sings at the same time, he trains his brain to be more focused when multitasking.

        You experience artistic creativity

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        Cassette tape playing guitar

          One of the biggest reasons music is considered to be art is the fact that you need to have creativity in order to create it. Even if you weren’t quite creative at the start, over time, playing your instrument has encouraged your brain to develop divergent thinking and to think about new possibilities.

          When you listen or create something that is abstract and unfamiliar at that moment, it can inspire your brain to come up with brand new, fresh ideas. This will not only affect creating new music, but also other aspects of your life, career, relationships, education, etc. Because of this, it’s clear why it’s not uncommon to see musicians easily perform creative actions such as writing, painting or something else.

          Being a musician makes your life fuller

          As a musician, you will have many benefits in life! Besides the fact that your mind will work differently than most people, you will also be looked on differently, and having a musician role in society carries certain perks. Musicians have always been special because they can do something that most people can’t – understand music, create it, and play it. As an artist, or an entertainer, (whichever you prefer better) you will be much more attractive to people and this is why musicians find partners much easier.

          Being on stage and performing is an amazing experience for you as a musician, but it is also very appealing to people who have come to your show to listen to you. This is especially true if you are good at it! People will want to talk to you, ask you questions, call you to play at their parties, get to know your experiences and much more.

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          As a musician, you will meet a lot of people and establish long lasting bonds, so make sure to use the opportunities you have been given as an artist. When you are a musician, you will get the feeling that it’s all about you!

          Now, when you have learned about the scientific and life aspect of music, you can start to use these facts how you see fit! Teach your children to play an instrument when they are really young, but don’t force them to do something if they are not interested. Being a musician is a privilege, so live your life to the fullest!

          More by this author

          Ivan Dimitrijevic

          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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          Last Updated on March 13, 2019

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

          1. Work on the small tasks.

          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

          2. Take a break from your work desk.

          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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          3. Upgrade yourself

          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

          4. Talk to a friend.

          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

          7. Read a book (or blog).

          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

          8. Have a quick nap.

          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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          9. Remember why you are doing this.

          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

          10. Find some competition.

          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

          11. Go exercise.

          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

          12. Take a good break.

          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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