Improving Neuroplasticity Through Music Lessons
Neuroplasticity is the ability for the brain to rewire itself by forming new pathways and modify existing connections. This ability is especially important for recovery from brain injury such as a concussion. In cases like dyslexia where it affects the area of the brain that processes language, neuroplasticity is a sign of hope that the brain is capable of being rewired.
You might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with music?
As we learn new skills, our brain forms new pathways. These pathways determine the plasticity of the brain. However, not all skills will result in the same number of newly created pathways. Is painting class as effective at building pathways as soccer practice? How about karate class? Or dance class? Although there is no conclusive measurement for every activity on the planet, neuroplasticity experts agree that learning a musical instrument or a second language are two of the STRONGEST ways to encourage neuroplasticity. A study out of MIT showed that kids who took piano lessons had an easier time identifying different pitches. This is significant for languages that are considered tonal such as Punjabi. In a separate study from the University of Geneva, musical training led to improvements in reading ability, verbal memory and second language pronunciation. A separate study performed on kids showed evidence of changes in the brain after 15 months of music lessons.
Let’s do the math:
Piano lessons + Chinese school + flexible kid brain = A LOT of neural pathways!
Is it too late for adults to make new neural connections? Certainly not. Although the adult brain is not as flexible at creating these routes, it is still possible to make your brain more plastic. Start studying Sibelius, brush up on Beethoven, and master Mozart. It’s always the right time to try a new hobby or learn a new instrument!