Look around and you will find highly accomplished professionals who are also musicians. The skills and discipline of consistent music practice “tone the brain” in a natural and developmentally appropriate way. Music uniquely endows people with the ability to take different perspectives and think in three dimensions.
Even the most accomplished professionals love their “amateur” music. Think about it: Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State, is a concert pianist. Woody Allen performs jazz weekly. Computer magnate Robert Allen, founder of Microsoft, plays in a rock band. The examples are myriad. Music “opens the brain” to creativity. It is a secret language that makes neural connections between seemingly disparate ideas.
The scientific evidence supporting higher brain function and music is slowly being realized. Music stimulates spatial relations, and visual-spatial skills are increasingly tied to creativity and intelligence. Like all activities that are performed daily, music can help “rewire” the brain. For students with ADD, the practice of music creates a biofeedback loop, which stimulates the very deficit areas that we are trying to remediate – executive functioning. Music also provides a good break in the day and helps to increase focus and concentration. For students with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, it is a gateway to social interaction in a highly positive atmosphere, building a leisure activity skill for life.
For these reasons and more, we encourage our students at BCS to play a musical instrument. On any given day, you may hear our students learning guitar or catch them composing original music in our media lab. Music is enjoyable for the student and beneficial to the brain. So the next time you think about picking up an instrument, remember this: It’s not just fun, it’s good for you!