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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 December 9, 2019

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

          Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

          Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

          1. Get Rationally Optimistic

          Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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          This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

          In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

          The result: no more mental stress.

          2. Unplug

          Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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          How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

          It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

          Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

          3. Easy on the Caffeine

          Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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          Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

          4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

          That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

          How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

          • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
          • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
          • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

          While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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          5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

          This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

          The result: mental stress will be gone!

          So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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          Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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