Playing an instrument benefits your brain – what instrument and who’s brain?

Recently watched this TEDed video talking about how playing an instrument works like mental/full body workout vitalizing all parts of human brain (the research is not that new, though).

This is sort of echoing what I usually say to my students that “we don’t know if playing music can make you smarter, but we know that a great musician is definitely brilliant and smart,” as a good musician has to be good at multitasking and has the ability to coordinate and switch between the holistic scope and details.



While it is fascinating to see this research, I was also wondering if it is the same when the social and cultural contexts are put into consideration. For example, would the brain activities get even more active when a musician playing instruments facilitating trance or possession in a ritual? Theatrical music? What’s the difference, if there is any, between musical genres and cultures, especially for those “music” that is consider not “music” and “musical activities” consider not musical? Can this kind of research be approval to be cross-cultural or should be based on cultural-differences? Don’t have the answers at this moment, but it would be interesting to discover.

Anyway, we know at least playing an instrument is good for our brain. And, in this sense, it will never be “too late” to start an instrument as it is never too late to start learning a second language.



Posted in Ethnomusicology, Music Making, Scholarship.

Leave a Reply