Why Playing A Musical Instrument Is A Great Activity For Brain Health

Remember that scene in "The Incredibles" when Carrie, the babysitter, is rambling to Elastigirl? And, she tells the superpowered mother that Jack-Jack will be listening to Mozart because Mozart makes babies smarter? It's okay if you don't recall; it's a small moment in an otherwise long movie, though you can check it out on YouTube. But this moment is relevant to this piece because it shows that even fictional characters know that music is important to brain development.

According to Inc., musical training can change brain structure for the better, improving long-term memory, sensory processes, and more. The earlier you introduce musical training to your children, the better their brains will develop. That's why musicians, the outlet added, are adept at multisensory information and using their senses.

"Music reaches parts of the brain that other things can't," Catherine Loveday, a neuropsychologist at the University of Westminster, said. "It's a strong cognitive stimulus that grows the brain in a way that nothing else does, and the evidence that musical training enhances things like working memory and language is very robust."

And, while brain games do develop the brain too, a musical instrument does it better. Why? Inc. reported that a musical instrument requires you to multitask and integrate information from various sensory points: senses of vision, hearing, touch, and fine movements. Thus, you're using different brain points simultaneously when playing an instrument. Neat, huh?

Playing a musical instrument has also been shown to improve physical and mental health

If you thought an instrument only improved brain health, get a load of this: studies have shown that playing an instrument decreases anxiety and blood pressure (via John's Hopkins). And, it improves sleep habits, mood, and mental alertness, the outlet added.

Since you're using both sides of your brain when playing an instrument (remember when we said you're using various sensory points?), memory power, literacy skills, and spatial reasoning are all enhanced, per ClassicFM.

And, if you find yourself calmer, that's because of playing an instrument. The outlet added that music, especially classical, relieves stress and operates as a coping mechanism. "Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet classical music," said psychologist Jane Collingwood. "This type of music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones."

Oh, and did we mention that playing an instrument is honestly just fun too? Yes, there are these benefits — great brain, physical, and mental health — but aside from that, playing an instrument is cool in itself. You're improving your body while learning a new skill.