Here's why musicians have better brains. And it's pretty incredible.

For a while, scientists thought music was good for our brains. This time, they're sure.

Newer, bigger, and better machines are finding mind-blowing things going on between our ears.

When there's music.

Here's the deal.

When scientists look at brains using FMRIs and PET scans while subjects are doing normal things, the parts of the noggin associated with those things light up as expected.


But when the subjects are listening to music ... eek! There's a light show going on.

Doctors figure this happens because our brains break down what we're hearing into its different parts, analyze those parts, and then put them back together before it's time for the first foot tap or booty shake.

When someone plays music? Stand back. Fireworks!

Playing an instrument involves doing lots of things at once.

It's like a full-body workout for the brain.

Different areas of the brain get into the act.

What you've got is an experience like nothing else. And it explains "musician face."

When you play music, you use fine motor skills controlled by the creative and analytic hemispheres of your brain. There's language involved, and math, too. Plus, feeling, memory, and a lot of everything else your brain can do.

In fact, playing music strengthens the *corpus callosum*, the link between the two halves. Scientists are seeing all kinds of new connections being made as people play music.

This makes musicians great problem-solvers in school and social situations.

Musicians develop higher executive functions.

Musicians get mad skills at interlinked tasks like planning, strategizing, and paying attention to detail because they benefit from learning to quickly handle both cognitive and emotional elements at the same time.

Musicians' memories are also unique.

When musicians process memories, they tend to use an unusual tagging system that lets them file memories in multiple categories.

There's an obvious conclusion to draw.

Playing music is uniquely great for developing a person's brain, young or old.

Studies show that anyone who takes up an instrument is likely to enhance their brainpower.

Awesome.

Music education in public schools these days is facing cutbacks all over, as discussed in this ThinkProgress article.

Educators need to be reminded that we want this trend reversed. Here's some more great info from the VH1 Save The Music Foundation.

Heroes

The great thing about American democracy is the separation of powers. The federal government has rights, states have rights, counties have rights, cities have rights, and we, as people, have rights, too.

Heck, even animals have some rights in the good ol' U S of A.

The president of the United States is not a king or a dictator so a team of U.S. mayors, led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, are asking to go over his head to negotiate directly at next month's UN climate change conference in Santiago, Chile.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Amanda Williams

It can take time to feel comfortable in a new home, especially if you think there are scary monsters lurking about, which is why six-year-old Hayden Williams had trouble sleeping in his new room.

Hayden used to share a room with his 15-year-old sister, but when the Eldridge, Iowa family moved, each kid got their very own. While his sister was excited for the change, Hayden was having a hard time adjusting to the new arrangement.

"My little man has been having severe anxiety since we moved into the new house…I've tried everything under the sun to get him to sleep in his own room. Nothing is helping," his mom, Amanda Williams, wrote on Facebook.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Courtesy of Capital One

It was around Christmas 2018 and Jean Simpkins, 79, was looking out the window of her new three-bedroom apartment. Eleven floors above Washington, D.C., the grandmother of two gazed out at the lights of the city and became overwhelmed with gratitude. "The only thing I could say," Simpkins remembers, "was 'Thank you, Father.'"

Almost a year later, Simpkins still can't help but look at the apartment as a miracle — one she desperately needed. Fifteen years ago, when her grandson was born, she became his primary caregiver. Six years later, when her granddaughter was four, Simpkins was awarded full custody of her, too. She's spent the time since trying to give her grandchildren the life she knows they deserve, which has been difficult on a fixed income. On top of that, Simpkins worried that the neighborhood the family resided in wasn't the best influence on her kids. Something had to change.

Then she learned about Plaza West, a new development created by Mission First housing that would reserve 50 of its apartments specifically for families in which a grandparent or other older adult was raising children who were related to them. The waiting list, Simpkins says, was daunting. There are a great deal of grandfamilies in the D.C. area and she was sure it might be years before she got the call. But soon after applying, she was offered a choice between a two-bedroom and a three-bedroom apartment. She accepted the latter, sight unseen. She knew that each of her grandchildren needed space of their own.

Keep Reading Show less
Future Edge
True
Capital One
via Pixabay

Ninjas are black-clad assassins that date back to the days of feudal Japan. They are skillful, secretive fighters who have mastered the element of surprise, espionage, and clandestine tactics.

Ninjas weren't held to the Bushido code like the samurai, so they could be mercenaries who did the lord's dirty deeds without worrying about their honor. A ninja's most important power is the ability to be stealth and sneak into castles or homes to take their targets by surprise.

Keep Reading Show less
popular