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No Pain, All Brain

Aug 13, 2014

Science proves playing a band or orchestra instrument improves brain function.

Some kids may not like vegetables. They avoid leafy greens and healthy food like homework and chores. Nothing you tell them could possibly change their mind. But have you ever heard of a kid who doesn't like music? From the classics to classic rock, there’s something out there for nearly everyone to enjoy. How often is something we enjoy really good for us? Just like vegetables, music has benefits as well.

Simply listening to music has been shown to improve cognitive function, and playing music has numerous positive effects on the brain. Musicians use their brains more efficiently to process information by using almost every area of the brain. Playing music also forces us to use both sides of our brain, the left (the logical side) and the right (the creative side). Studies have shown that over time practicing music can have lasting benefits on brain health.

So next time your kid has his ear buds in, maybe just let him be. He might not look like he’s doing anything productive, but his brain is getting a workout. Help your kids learn about the power of music by encouraging them to join their school’s band or orchestra programs. School music programs not only develop musical skills, but also foster a sense of teamwork and community. After the school day, when your child is practicing, support their efforts. Every minute they spend playing and listening is helping strengthen cognitive function.

Participating in music programs such as orchestra or band will not only help them learn to play an instrument and a song or two. Playing music has also been shown to help with the ability to recall memories. Scientists think that this comes from the increased connectivity in the brain that stems from processing and performing music.

So take a second and sit down with your kid to watch this video. Place an instrument nearby for when they reach for it after watching. Maybe a pair of earplugs as well for when they decide to just keep on playing throughout the night? After all, they are actually getting smarter note by note. Just don’t expect them to be as excited when you set down a plate of vegetables for dinner.