Will Playing Music or Singing Keep Your Brain Sharp?

The human brain needs exercise just like your body. Luckily this can be completely enjoyable like playing an instrument or even singing.

Research shows that playing a musical instrument, especially the piano, improves memory and cognitive function. A scientific study called the Protect Study, which has been running for over 10 years, reviewed data from more than a thousand adults over the age of 40 to research the effects of playing a musical instrument or singing in a choir on brain function.

Findings of this and other research demonstrate that playing a musical instrument improves memory and brain health, exercising the brain in a similar way to learning a new language. Even if this musical experience was in the past, including decades ago, executive brain function still scores higher than non-musical study participants.

Playing an instrument or singing promotes brain health by building new connections, assisting memory function and reasoning for years to come. Continuing to play a musical instrument later in life provides even greater benefits.

How Playing an Instrument Can Improve Language Skills 

There are steps you can take to help preserve your brain function as you age. Playing an instrument can improve cognitive abilities by constantly challenging your brain, like completing regular word puzzles or learning a new language.

Author Anne Corbett, PhD, a researcher for the Protect Study and professor of dementia research said “We believe that playing an instrument or taking part in singing activities challenges the brain and builds connections in the brain that help it work better and protect it from damage later on”.

Although singing in a choir and playing other musical instruments proved to be beneficial, the all-time winner for improving brain function is playing the piano.

You can keep your mind sharp by learning new skills and practicing old ones. Research indicates that environment and lifestyle play an important role in combatting brain diseases such as dementia.

Research Limitations 

Many scientists and doctors believe that picking up an interest in music or singing can benefit the brain during any season of life, although research has generally focused on people who played instruments or sang in the past. There is a lack of research on pursuing music for the first time in middle or old age in terms of cognitive benefits.

Many studies focus on the benefits of playing a musical instrument, whether it be in the past or present, but few focus on the positive effects of listening to music on brain health.

More research needs to be done on this topic, but one thing is for sure; there is no downside to having music be part of your life. By boosting your mood and adding enjoyment to your life, you can’t go wrong with some tunes.