How to give your grey matter a boost!
Brain training may not work, but there are a lot of other ways to give your grey matter a boost.
If you read this you’re in for a treat – I play a tune for you!!! see below…
For the last week I’ve been enjoying reading a book called a ‘guide to a better you’. an article called ‘Mental Floss’ had my attention. It centred on a topic of ‘brain training’. There are books, online sites, gurus and magazines all professing to help with the grey matter but does it really work?
Well, personally speaking, some of it does but you have to keep up with all the exercises and meditation and all that comes with trying to perfect the art of mind-set change. With that in mind, I wondered if there was anything else I could do to give my grey matter a boost.
Our brains are constantly adapting to information from the world around us. However, some activities make a bigger impression than others.
In recent years, researchers have been probing how outside influences, from music to meditation, might change and enhance our brains.
One of the most promising is music – and not just via the famous but sometimes controversial “Mozart effect” whereby merely listening to classical music is supposed to improve the brain performance.
Learning to play and instrument brings about dramatic brain changes that not only improves musical skills but can also spill over into other cognitive abilities, including speech, language, memory, attention, IQ and event empathy.
So, almost 4 years ago now I dusted off my brass instrument (Euphonium) and got practicing.
Here’s is something I remember off by heart from when I was 13-14 years old. I’d practiced it so much I can still remember it today….amazing what the motor and cognitive memory can achieve.
Well, I did mention good ole Mozart so it had to be done!
Musical training , especially at a young age, seems to significantly alter the structure of the brain. For instance, after 15 months of lessons young children had more highly developed auditory and motor areas than their untrained peers.
Professional musicians have an increased volume of grey matter that routes information around the brain.
I’d better measure my head then!
“What can I learn to play then” – I hear you ask with a sceptical tone?
Speaking of tone, it really doesn’t matter if you think you are inept at learning any kind of instrument or even singing if you think you are tone deaf. There’s no such thing as being ‘tone deaf’, it’s just you haven’t been shown or tried to ‘tune in’ to the challenge. It takes a little time and when the effort and practice have been brought together, the physical and mental rewards are so addictive you want more.
- Guitar (the old favourite)
- Ukulele (currently very popular and easy to learn)
- trumpet (loud but stretches the lungs)
- Mandolin (beautiful instrument for both classical and folk music)
- Piano (my daughter plays this as well as the Ukulele)
- Penny Whistle (If you’ve played a recorder then this might be for you)
What other instruments do you recommend or have taken to recently?