Musicians have sharp minds!

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Researchers find that playing music keeps the mind young and sharp!

Do you play an instrument? If so, good for you, but if not, you may want to pick one up pronto. Why? Because according to researchers from the University of St. Andrews, playing at an amateur level or above makes a person’s brain sharper, respond faster, and stay healthier as they age.

For their study, the researchers looked at two groups: people with a bit of background in music, and those without. When the study participants were given simple mental tasks to complete, the individuals who played an instrument were able to find mistakes and respond to questions much faster than the other group!

Seems shocking doesn’t it? Apparently, this is not surprising, because musicians have to be aware of themselves when they perform, so they’re used to quickly zeroing in on the mistakes they make.

So, how much musical practice is enough, and how will it affect a person’s brain in the future? “Our study shows that even moderate levels of musical activity can benefit brain functioning,” said Dr. Ines Jentzsch, a Reader in the University’s School of Psychology and Neuroscience. She also explained that this research suggests musical activity can slow down aging – even reverse it altogether – and keep the mind as fit as a fiddle!

These results are enough to convince me to play the guitar more often. If you don’t play an instrument, I recommend you give the string-strumming joy of guitar a try! It’s really easy to pick up and nowhere near as expensive as a piano.

Featured image courtesy of Vincent Lock on Wikimedia. Image of guitar with sheet music courtesy of University of St. Andrews.