Here’s some good motivation for practicing a musical instrument every day: 

Playing music may actually make you smarter! 

Research done by neuroscientist Gottfried Schlaug at Harvard has come up with some fascinating results about how the brains of musicians are different than the brains of non-musicians.  Apparently, playing a musical instrument rewires the brain to give musicians advantages that will help them perform better.

Specifically, this research has shown two areas of the brain that are significantly different for people who play music:

1.  The connections between the left and right hemispheres of the brain are much larger in musicians.  This means that the control of the right and left halves of the body are more coordinated in musicians than in everyone else.

2.  The part of the brain responsible for information processing, the cerebellum, tends to be larger in musicians.   Musicians need to react quickly to what they hear (their own playing and the playing of their bandmates) and what they see (sheet music), process these details, and react almost immediately.   A larger cerebellum helps this happen.

It’s intriguing to think about how these changes could be beneficial in nonmusical parts of your life.  Musicians should have an advantage over nonmusicians in tasks that need coordination between both hands.

And, musicians should be strong whenever written information needs to be dealt with quickly.  Perhaps this specific wiring of the brain caused by playing music explains why some people are so good at both math and music.

Knowing that playing music can give us these benefits is one more reason to make sure we practice often.

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