I now have something else to thank my parents for–all those years of piano lessons they forced me to take. New research published in Neuropsychology shows that kids who take music lessons get a brain boost that lasts even into old age.
Researchers looked at a group of older adults between ages 60 and 83, and compared them based on how much experience they had playing music. Those who knew how to read music or had practiced an instrument performed better on a variety of cognitive tests.
The head researcher Dr. Brenda Hanna-Pladdy mentioned that because music practice can be “a challenging cognitive exercise” it may help in “making your brain fitter and more capable of accommodating the challenges of aging.” She added, “Since studying an instrument requires years of practice and learning, it may create alternate connections in the brain that could compensate for cognitive declines as we get older.”
So thanks, Mom and Dad- not only did I learn to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, but now I know that all that torturous practice might help me keep my marbles as I age!