‘What is good for your body, is good for your brain’
Generally, age paints a pretty bleak cognitive picture. Our memory, attention and reasoning all worsen with age. But we know, that having a healthy life (diet, exercise, not smoking etc.) can protect our brain from this age-related decline. I pose the question, what about music? Can playing a musical instrument keep your brain healthy as you get older?
Here’s why I ask that question.
In my previous blog post (The neuroscience of music) I discussed how playing a musical instrument changes the structure of our brain. As a child, if you learn a musical instrument it changes the brain’s structure and it changes how the brain functions. People who play a musical instrument from an early age show better memory, reasoning, ability to focus attention etc.
But what happens to a musician’s brain as they get older? Does playing a instrument early in life, protect your age from this typical cognitive decline in later life?
Yes, it does! Playing a musical instrument is like a full body workout for your brain! When we continue to play a musical instrument throughout life, we are giving our brains a continuous workout. This workout, leads to structural brain changes, as well as, cognitive changes. Older musicians show better recall, attention and reasoning when compared to their non-musically trained peers.
So, music is the key to healthy ageing!
In my next blog post, I will discuss the implications of this on the development of dementia.