8 Reasons Why Playing Music is Good for You

John McManamy | May 14th 2015 Apr 10th 2017

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In “Darkness Visible,” William Styron wrote how he was able to reconnect with memories of joy in his life when Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody began resonating in his head. That was the beginning of his recovery from depression. The sound, Styron wrote, pierced his heart like a dagger. Not only is music the great healer, it is good for the brain and a healthy lifestyle, especially when you play it. Here’s why …

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Playing music engages the whole brain

According to music educator, Anita Collins, in a TED-Ed animation:

_Playing music is the brain’s equivalent of a full-body workout… Playing an instrument engages practically every area of the brain at once — especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. _

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Playing music strengthens brain function

Says Anita Collins:

As in any other workout, disciplined, structured practice in playing music strengthens those brain functions, allowing us to apply that strength to other activities.

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Music reduces depression

A 2014 Queens University Belfast study found that kids who received music therapy had improved self-esteem and reduced depression compared with those who received treatment without music therapy.

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Rhythm energizes

According to neurologist Oliver Sacks in his book “Musicophilia,” rhythm activates areas of the motor cortex, crucial in synchronizing and energizing movement.

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Rhythm improves cognition and mood

According to neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley of UCSF:

As we now understand it, brain function itself is dependent on complex rhythms of activity, which guides interactions between brain regions to generate synchronized neural networks from which our minds emerge.

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Whatever Tesla says is good enough for us

Said Nikola Tesla: If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.

To discover what Tesla meant by that, simply grab a singing bowl or a drum. Savor the resonance. Say no more.

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Likewise, whatever John Muir says is good enough for us

Said John Muir: I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

Play a didgeridoo under the sequoias – you will see what I mean.

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Music is a great socializer

Music breaks down barriers and connects us to others. In the joy of music, we find joy in our fellow humans, we find a reason to live.

You don’t need to be an accomplished musician to find these connections. A good many venues these days encourage picking up a drum or noise-maker – or simply clapping your hands – and joining in. Three words: Just do it.