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Music exercises the brain

While my wife Janis and I have known each other for several years, several months after our spouses passed away and we began to see each other, I soon came to realize what a brilliant person she truly is. And I say that not just because she was smart enough to marry me, ha. Granted, she came from a family of achievers, was valedictorian of her high school graduating class, and has over 40 years of business experience, but there may be another much more important reason.

As a columnist, I am always on the lookout for topics and subject matter that I feel will benefit you and my other readers across the country. Almost by chance I came to preview a topic that helps me understand why Janis is so sharp, and also how her educational background could be a tremendous help to you and others you can influence. What I discovered was an article written by Anita Collins titled, “How playing an instrument benefits your brain,” that was featured on the website: www.tech-ed.com. After you read this column, if you have any interest at all I want to encourage you to go to this website, preview it, and get the full benefit of all the great information it contains.

After you do, you will come to a better understanding of why I have reached my conclusions about her. Here is the essence of what this article says. In recent years, research by neuroscientists has determined that playing a musical instrument has benefits for developing the brain unlike any other activity. They discovered that you could monitor the brain’s activity by hooking up advanced technological instruments and monitoring the brain’s activity in real time. When observing, again in real time, such activity as reading and doing math problems they observed what was happening in certain areas of the brain.

However, when they observed the brain’s activity when listening to music, there were multiple areas of the brain being utilized all at the same time. It was like fireworks going off. The breakthrough came when they monitored musicians actually playing a musical instrument. It was like a jubilee taking place in the brain, and this activity was like being the equivalent of a full workout for the body. As one who has gone to a gym many times over the past few years, and doing a physical workout on the many and varied machines, I could see the human brain being exercised in much the same way.

The bottom line is that this increased brain activity results in personal benefits in other critical areas of life, such as improved memory, critical thinking, problem solving, planning skills, interpersonal relationships and many others. We know from experience that what we don’t use, we lose. Without her even being aware, here is some activity that Janis has been doing for over six decades that has served her well, not only in developing her fantastic brain but in her social areas of life as well. Her mother was a fantastic piano player and actually taught piano for many years, and she also taught Janis to play at an early age as well.

Janis has continued to play all these years, knowing it was enjoyable and that it was such a blessing to others, but not knowing or understanding that she was exercising and developing her brain at the same time. So, here is the bottom line. If you don’t already, learning to play a musical instrument, and encouraging your children to learn to play as well, could bring tremendous benefits for your life.

www.hotsr.com, www.msidallas.com