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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 25, 2020

          How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

          How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

          When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

          So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

          1. Exercise

          It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

          2. Drink in Moderation

          I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

          3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

          Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

          4. Watch Less Television

          A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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          Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

          5. Eat Less Red Meat

          Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

          If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

          6. Don’t Smoke

          This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

          7. Socialize

          Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

          8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

          Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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          9. Be Optimistic

          Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

          10. Own a Pet

          Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

          11. Drink Coffee

          Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

          12. Eat Less

          Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

          13. Meditate

          Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

          Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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          How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

          14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

          Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

          15. Laugh Often

          Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

          16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

          Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

          17. Cook Your Own Food

          When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

          Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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          18. Eat Mushrooms

          Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

          19. Floss

          Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

          20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

          Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

          Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

          21. Have Sex

          Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

          More Health Tips

          Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

          Reference

          [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
          [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
          [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
          [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
          [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
          [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
          [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
          [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
          [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
          [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
          [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
          [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
          [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
          [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
          [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
          [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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