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Playing Music Protects Memory, Hearing, Brain Processing

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 by Julie Newton | Uncategorized

One of 15 Benefits of Learning Piano


1.Prevents Brain Processing, Hearing and Memory Loss

Scientific research over the years has shown that studying music has many rewards, from improving performance in school to dealing with emotional traumas, but the newest research shows that it can do even more than that.  It can fine tune the human brain, biologically and neurologically enhancing its performance and protecting it from some of the ravages of time.

Nina Kraus's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University in Evanston, Il., has been studying how music affects the human brain for years now, and the latest study from that busy lab shows that musicians suffer less from aging-related memory and hearing losses than non-musicians.  It is believed to be the first study to provide biological evidence that lifelong musical experience has a good impact on the aging process, according to Northwestern, where Kraus serves as professor of neurobiology, physiology and communication sciences.

Kraus and her colleagues attached electrodes to the heads of 87 persons ranging in age from 18 to 65, all of whom had normal hearing.  About half the subjects had started taking music lessons before the age of nine, and had remained active in music throughout their lives.  The others had fewer than three years of music lessons, and were classified as "non-musicians."

The purpose of the electrodes was to measure what neurologists call "neural timing," or how long it takes for a human brain to process an auditory signal.  The normal aging process slows that timing, making it more difficult to process sounds, even the sound of a friend's voice in a crowded restaurant, Kraus said in a telephone interview.

The electrodes provided a "very objectively quantifiable" measurement of that processing time, which would normally be expected to be considerably slower in older persons than younger.  But that did not turn out to be the case.

Playing Instrument Helps Processing, Hearing

Older participants in the study who had made music a big part of their lives could process the signal just about as fast as the younger participants.  The "non musicians," however lagged considerably behind, indicating that playing a musical instrument was crucial to retaining memory and hearing.

"As a musician, you get very good at pulling out important information from a complex soundscape," Kraus said, whether it's a musical performance or listening to someone speaking in a noisy room.  "The orchestra is playing and you are pulling out the violin line, or the base line, or some harmony.  You are always pulling out meaningful components from sound and that's really not all that different from hearing your friend's voice in a noisy restaurant.

"That involves hearing, but it's related to how quickly you can process information and how well you remember it," she said.

Both of those talents tend to decline with age, which is why so many older persons complain of memory lapse and an inability to hear someone in a noisy place.  But this work suggests it doesn't decline, if playing a musical instrument is a personal passion over time.

Kraus said it's not enough just to listen to music.  It's the intensity of actually performing that is the active ingredient.

So music is good, but is it ever too late to start?

"From everything I know about how the brain changes with experience and what I know about the effect of musical experience on the nervous system, my scientific gut feeling is that it can only help," she said, quickly adding that she doesn't have the data to back that up yet.

Asked if she is a musician, she replied:

"I play a couple of instruments, not particularly well, but I play them with great joy."

Entire Source: ABC News


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Consider Accelerated Piano Lessons

Friday, February 15, 2019 by Julie Newton | Uncategorized

5 Benefits of Accelerated Piano Lessons

  • Less Pressure. When learning a new skill one-on-one, students often feel nervous which can hinder their learning process. ... 
  • Competition. Instead of just the direct pressure from the teacher, the spirit of positive competition helps to motivate students. ... 
  • Socializing. ... 
  • Teamwork


For those considerining accelerated piano lessons, below is a detailed explanation of the positive sides to help you make an informed decision.

Pros

  • The students will gain from the social development involved. They will be able to make new friends with their classmates whom they can play with as well as share their ideas and thoughts on the classes they take. Additionally, the learners will be able to learn how to relate well with people from all walks of life in a learning environment. Learning becomes fun; a great delight as well as an invaluable experience helping them to build confidence for a lifetime. All these are not possible in private lessons.
  •  Unlike in the Elite Private Piano lessons, students in accelerated piano lessons are able to learn playing different parts of a song to make a whole. Moreover, the students develop better sight reading, following instructions, rhyme, and coordination as well.
  • Motivation is a great asset when learning music, especially for children. It is what gives them the will to go on and be the best they can be. Motivation, in this case, will come from observing what other students are doing and the desire to play like them or better. They inspire each other to do better as well as discover new things.
  • Pressure is not good for learning, especially for kids. The pressure, in this case, is less for the group than it would be for one student. This is because the teacher’s attention is divided among all other students which gives them time to relax and enjoy free time. Pressure would create a non-conducive learning environment for the learners.
  • Since the students are already used to playing various music instruments in front of their classmates, they will also have the courage to play even when the audience is different. This is a way of nurturing their talent and building their self-confidence. A student who learns all by themselves may be shy playing in front of people. This confidence gained will not only be useful when the students are playing music but also in other areas such as public speaking.
  • When in a group, there is positive competition which helps students strive to do their best in the class. It is also an opportunity to learn from others as well as give and receive positive criticism which helps them in the learning process. A competitive environment helps them learn more and faster.
  • Singing is also part of music, a very important part. Most people will find themselves more comfortable singing in a group than they would while alone. Therefore, groups can foster this part of music education.
  • Team spirit is also greatly developed in groups. There are many activities such as singing and playing various musical instruments which the students have to do together. They can learn to support each other during class performances, at festivals, as well as during exams.


Remus Badea is Concertmaster of Southwest Symphony Orchestra, adjunct professor at Elmhurst College, and Executive Director of American Music Institute. 


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Should I Make My Daughter Practice Piano?

Thursday, January 31, 2019 by Julie Newton | Practicing Piano

 




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