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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 October 20, 2020

          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

          You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

          We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

          The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

          Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

          1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

          Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

          For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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          • (1) Research
          • (2) Deciding the topic
          • (3) Creating the outline
          • (4) Drafting the content
          • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
          • (6) Revision
          • (7) etc.

          Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

          2. Change Your Environment

          Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

          One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

          3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

          Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

          Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

          My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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          Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

          4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

          If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

          Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

          I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

          5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

          I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

          Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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          As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

          6. Get a Buddy

          Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

          I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

          7. Tell Others About Your Goals

          This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

          For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

          8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

          What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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          9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

          If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

          Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

          10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

          Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

          Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

          11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

          At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

          Reality check:

          I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

          Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

          More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

          Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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