Learning a musical instrument may confer lifelong cognitive benefits

Musical training has long been linked to better general cognitive functioning. Studies investigating everything from the cognitive skills of adult musicians vs non-musicians to the effects of instrument lessons on children’s cognition has come out in support of the idea, according to the British Psychological Society.

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However, relatively few studies have explored whether the benefits last — if, as a child, you have piano lessons, for example, does this have any impact on your cognitive abilities in later life? The results of a new longitudinal study, in Psychological Science, which tested the same people at the ages of 11 and 70, suggest that it does. Cognitive benefits of musical training seem to be evident even decades later.

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6 responses to “Learning a musical instrument may confer lifelong cognitive benefits

  1. Now, aren’t you glad you learned how to play the accordion! 😊🪗

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How about learning a new language? Are there any studies on this. I recently began Spanish level one with no prior experience in that language. I’ve been at it one year and now I find it easier to remember names and facts in general. I think it is opening up new pathways in my brain. I also find it interesting that most of the people in my classes are also over the age of 60 and very involved and engaged in life. They are active people who socialize with friends, travel, exercise, cook, do art, dance, and generally are living extremely active engaged lives in their 60s 70s and 80s. And how cool is it in this day and age to be able to take a class with people online and get to know people from all over the world.

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    • As a matter of fact, I have read that learning a new language is exactly one of the avenues to pursue to keep the brain cooking. I previously wrote about Sudoku’s and crossword puzzles as not helpful. They build skills at the puzzles, but don’t help working memory.

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      • I remember that post now about the puzzles. And that was one of the reasons I decided not to pursue working puzzles and chose learning a new language instead. Dr. Sanjay Gupta did a podcast last year on aging and the benefits of learning a new language. So I have been studying Spanish for one year now and I don’t speak the language as well as I would like, but I definitely find that my memory and mental sharpness are better. And the Spanish drills are a lot of fun. They are all live with native speakers so I get instant feedback on my pronunciation and use of words. I find the live events much more engaging than just using an app online.

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      • Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

        Liked by 1 person

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