Your Brain On Music

Chuck Bryant extols the benefits of playing an instrument, which among other things has “been proven to actually increase your memory’s capacity as well as your ability to concentrate”:

It’s also great for developing your motor skills, it’s literally good for your ears, and it can improve your cognitive abilities. It’s also been shown to improve your math skills, even if you never learn to read music. And if you do learn to read and write music, [it] will help you in the reading and writing department as well.

And this isn’t just me talking—there are countless studies and a lot of research that back up these truisms. Basically, it’s an all-around great workout for your noodle, like a brainteaser puzzle you have to use your hands (and sometimes feet) to solve.

Learning to play an instrument will also pay off at work, by helping to improve your organizational skills and time management. It takes a while to learn to play an instrument, so figuring out how to fit it into your schedule as well as the payoffs of completing a goal are both valuable. Persistence is a great life quality and you’ll get it in spades if you pick up a guitar with even modest goals in terms of how accomplished you want to be. And if you join a band (also something everyone should try) you’ll get some very real lessons in teamwork, social skills, personality management, and again, tenacity and perseverance. All of these things will help you at your job and in your personal life.

Previous Dish on the neurological effects of music here, here, and here.