What is the takeaway message? A key challenge for successful aging is to discover interventions that prevent age-related cognitive decline. Research has shown that music training enhances cognitive performance (i.e., working memory and processing speed) in healthy older adults.
Music training makes unique demands on our brains. Learning musical skills in later life is a promising intervention to offset the age-related cognitive decline. Brain fitness as we age depends considerably on maintaining a healthy, active mind, similar to keeping an active body.
Indeed, this is the belief of many musical therapists. You could maintain and increase your brain health if you decide to pick up an instrument for the very first time in midlife or beyond.
Bugos, J. A. (2014). Community music as a cognitive training program for successful ageing. Int. J. Commun. Music 7, 319–331.
Creech A. (2019), Using Music Technology Creatively to Enrich Later-Life: A Literature Review, Front. Psychol., 10: 117.
Fasano MC, Semeraro C, Cassibba R, Kringelbach ML, Monacis L, de Palo V, Vuust P, Brattico E.Short-Term Orchestral Music Training Modulates Hyperactivity and Inhibitory Control in School-Age Children: A Longitudinal Behavioural Study, Front Psychol. 2019 Apr 3; 10:750.
Greenberg, D. M., Rentfrow, P. J., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2016). Can music increase empathy? Interpreting musical experience through the empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory: Implications for Autism. Empirical Musicology Review, 10(1–2), 80–95.
Lesiuk T, Bugos JA, Murakami B. (2018), A Rationale for Music Training to Enhance Executive Functions in Parkinson's Disease: An Overview of the Problem. Healthcare (Basel), Apr 22;c6(2). pii: E35.
Rentfrow PT, and Levitin DJ (2019) Foundations in Music Psychology: Theory and Research. MIT press. (Creech et al., 2014) The role of musical possible selves in supporting subjective well-being in later life.
Schneider C. E., Hunter E. G., Bardach S. H. (2018). Potential cognitive benefits from playing music among cognitively intact older adults: a scoping review. J. Appl. Gerontol. Dec;38(12):1763-1783.
Written by Shahram Heshmat Originally Appeared In Psychology Today
Regular music lessons and musical training can tremendously magnify your cognitive abilities, and help you inculcate many important and positive beliefs in yourself. It will not just keep you healthy mentally, emotionally and physically, it will help you live your life better and to the fullest.