If I had a dime for every adult who has said to me, “I wish my mom had never let me quit taking piano lessons” I would be rich today. Honestly. Because I play piano, people nearly always make that or similar comments to me.
So, guess what? Those folks may wish even more that mom had made them put in hours of practice and tied them to the bench. A University of Kansas study now suggests that childhood musical training may help keep your brain sharp.
In the study, researchers found that older adults (ages 60 to 83) who took music lessons as children performed better on memory and brain function tests (including naming objects and managing time) than those who didn’t have lessons. Even better, those benefits were evident even if the adults hadn’t continued to play music as a grown up.
The study did indicate, however, that the earlier an individual starts lessons and the longer they play, the bigger the anti-aging benefits in the brain appear to be. They theorize that the years-long challenge of learning to read and play music creates alternate connections in the brain that compensate to some degree for later cognitive declines.
In Bowie we’re very fortunate to have wonderful access to the fine arts. We have BRAVA at Bowie High School. We have the Kennedy Center in D.C. and the Meyerhof in Baltimore. And if you’d like to learn well enough to perform there, or maybe, just maybe, keep your brain sharp as you get older, we have great access to music teachers like the Music Teachers Association of Bowie. http://www.msmta.org/locals/archive/mtab.htm. You can view their information, and information on music teachers in other Maryland cities, at the Maryland State Music Teachers Association. http://www.msmta.org/.