Playing Music Gives Brains A 'Full Body Workout,' Says Science

Playing Music Gives Brains A 'Full Body Workout,' Says Science

Anyone who's picked up an instrument knows the joy and pain of coordinating all the physiological pieces required to really rock out. Turns out that sensation is unique even at the neurological level, as explained in the nifty animation above summarizing a TedEd lecture by arts educator Anita Collins on the goings-ons of a musician's brain. Your mom was right: they're not like the rest of ours.

Recent studies by neuroscientists of FMRI scans show that whereas activities like reading a book, doing math problems, or even listening to music only stimulate parts of the brain, playing an instrument engages the whole organ. Not only does the musician's brain light up like the sky on the Fourth of July as it hustles to process "different information in intricate, interrelated, and astonishingly fast sequences," it also seems to store memories more efficiently than its counterparts, using a complex "tagging" method the narrator compares to that of a "a good internet search engine."

Of course, there's no telling which is the chicken and which the egg in this scenario. As the video posits, those drawn to music may simply have higher functioning brains to begin with. A zillion Taylor Swift thinkpiece writers can't be wrong, right?

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