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5 Ways Music Is Good for Your Brain

5 Ways Music Is Good for Your Brain

  1. Itaatherine Loveday of the University of Westminster. “It stimulates the brain in a very powerful way.” Playing an instrument is a rich and complex experience. This is because it’s brings together information from the senses of vision, hearing, and touch, along with fine motor movements. Brain scans have been able to identify the difference in brain structure between musicians and non-musicians. “Music reaches parts of the brain that other things can’t,” says Loveday. “It’s a strong cognitive stimulus that grows the brain in a way that nothing else does, and the evidence that musical training enhances things like working memory and language is very robust.”
  1. Strengthens memory and reading skills. The Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University states this is because music and reading are related via common neural and cognitive mechanisms.
  1. Playing music makes you happy. McMaster University discovered that babies who took interactive music classes displayed better early communication skills. They also smiled more and grew better at working with others.
  1. Music increases blood flow in your brain. Studies have found that short bursts of musical training increase the blood flow to the left hemisphere of the brain. Increased blood flow increases memory, cognitive ability and information accessibility. That can be helpful when you need a burst of energy or right before you study for, or even take, a test! Skip the energy drink and practice for 30 minutes.
  1. Musical training strengthens the brain’s executive function in every age group. Executive function covers critical tasks like processing and retaining information, controlling behavior, making decisions, and problem solving.

Bonus benefit: Music reduces stress and depression. A study of patients found that listening to and playing music reduced anxiety. Another study revealed that music therapy lowered levels of depression and anxiety. We all know how this works!

Start your journey today with Cadenza! Join us at Cadenza Music Academy.  Send us an email at [email protected] or call us at 949-416-2355.

Cadenza’s Top 5 Legendary Classical Pianists

Cadenza’s Top 5 Legendary Classical Pianists

  1. Emil Gilels

Emil Gilels was widely regarded as the best Soviet pianist of the 20th century. He was one of the first Soviet musicians allowed to play in Europe, winning many competitions and making quite a few professional recordings. Gilels began his piano lessons when he was five in Odessa, playing Mozart Sonatinas after just a few months! He was appreciated all over the world for his sensitive phrasing, what was called his “Golden Touch”, as well as his varied repertoire, being comfortable with a broad range, from Baroque to late-Romantic to modern.

 

  1. Vladimir Horowitz

Vladimir Horowitz was another famous Russian pianist, famous for his excellent performances of Romantic repertoire. Horowitz was highly regarded all over the world, thrilling his audiences in consistently sold out concerts. What made Horowitz different from other musicians was his gift of expression. Technically proficient, Horowitz also has amazing sensitivity that transcended cultures and countries.

 

  1. Ignaz Friedman

Ignaz Friedman was a great Polish pianist and composer. With his parents also accomplished musicians, Friedman studied alongside Hugo Riemann and Theodor Leschetizky and later joined Ferruccio Busoni’s master classes.

A quiet and seemingly effortless musician, he had his official debut in 1904 in Vienna that featured stirring performances of three piano concertos made famous by virtuosos before him including Busoni and Godowsky. He was regarded by many critics, and many other fellow pianists (like Rachmaninoff), as the supreme virtuoso pianist of his day.

  1. Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven is simply one of the best pianists and composers that has ever lived. Though mostly known now as a composer, his piano playing was noted for being far different from his colleagues, admired for both his expressive legato playing style and knowledge of repertoire.  

Though becoming deaf by the age of 20, he is a name still known throughout the world today!

  1.   Sergei Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff was born in Russia in the year 1873 and earned his diploma at the Moscow Conservatorium. His Piano Concerto No. 2 was very famous among the most popular pieces pieces ever written. A phenomenal composer he was even more respected for his playing. Part of his prowess was how he used his fingers and the dexterity resulted in being highly expressive, powerful, and accurate. He was able to produce clarity even in the most difficult passages – due to his large hands that spanned 12 inches!

If you are wondering where to start when listening to piano repertoire – this is a great list from which to start. Happy listening!  

Mindful Piano Practice

Mindful Piano Practice

Stress and distraction will forever be present in our lives. It can come from a variety of directions. One of the most powerful examples is the invasion of technology in every part of our daily lives. Technology has dimmed the marks between our home and work. We always struggle to find a place where we can unwind. In order to overcome stress, many choose to explore mindfulness exercises like meditation and yoga. The concept of Mindfulness is widespread and has many benefits.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation focuses on our awareness, on where we are now. We have two places, two spaces, in our minds. Where we are and where our mind takes us. The trick is to be able to focus on the now. Our body, our space, the sounds, the aspects of our life where we are physically.. Our mind tends to wander – this is natural and normal. We can dwell on the past or anxious about the future, anywhere but now. Let it go there (don’t be mad at yourself) but when you do notice it, gently bring it back to where you can focus on the here and now. We cannot change the past and there are many things that can affect the future. Stress is relieved in grasping what we can handle. For the most part we are better at handling the present than we are the future.

In these other timelines, we can have thoughts about our fears or failures or how we were unfairly treated by others. Sometimes, we also predict calamities and disasters that will happen to us. This often ends up us being lonely, hurt, afraid, and stressed. You cannot be mindful of where you are now if you are always concerned about the future. Relax and find the beauty in the now.

Piano Practice: Mindfulness

In order to enter in mindfulness meditation, one anchor that is used is breathing. Spend a great deal of time to focus on how you breath; patterns, depth, time. Be aware of what your body is doing naturally. This is the first step in being present.  Being aware of our breath means we have entered the present moment. Before we start a song, breathe and know where you are – getting ready to take the first step in a completely new musical journey – enjoy it!

Other anchors musicians have at their disposal include the notation, sound, fingerings, and rhythm. If you practice focusing on these issues, not only will the piano practice becomes more efficient, but you will find it rewarding as you will also find relief from daily stress that could be from school, homework, etc. If you feel time speed up when practicing piano, then this a great sign! Some people call it being in the “zone”.

And being mindful, present, and less stressed will means you will also learn how to express your emotions through music and, the ultimate goal, to have better connection to the audience during performances.

 

Start your piano lessons today! Join us at Cadenza Music Academy.  Send us an email at [email protected] or call us at 949-416-2355.

Childhood Development: Early Stage Of Music Lessons

Childhood Development: Early Stage Of Music Lessons

Studies done with children having a musical background show great improvement in their brain functions and overall brain stimulation. Today, infants and toddlers are strongly advised to sing and to explore rhythm using percussion instruments and body movements. These percussion instruments are not your drum set from a rock band but as simple as hand drums, egg shakers, castanets, xylophones, and more. Fine motor skills are vastly improved with these activities. As they progress through musical studies, concepts such as solfege, rhythmic counting, and musical notation are introduced. Any activity that allows children to improve their skills with more formalized dance and musical lessons at an early age is encouraged.

 

Language Development

Learning music uses the same parts of the brain that are responsible for learning language. All study in music improve the synapses of the brain that are essential to the processing of sounds and comprehension. In addition, children who excel in verbal communication have an upper hand in social circles and the educational field.

 

Improves Focus and Memory

Learning even the simplest piano etudes is a way to exercise focus, physical and mental recall, and hand-eye coordination. Practice makes perfect right – or, like we like to say, practice makes permanent (practice correctly!). Students should know that practicing frequently is the way to mastery simply because repetition strengthens memory.

 

Develop Discipline and Teamwork

The importance of hard work is a lesson that every child should learn. By practicing music everyday each child learns the concept of discipline. With a goal in mind like a performance, or a full recital, it gives direction and comes to fruition through ones disciplined work habits.

Whenever children can join small instrumental  groups, choirs, large school orchestras, or even a rock band there are numerous benefits because it triggers teamwork and overall positive feeling of working together with others on a common goal.

And as we know, discipline and the ability to work with a team are important skills for life.

 

Builds Self Confidence and Self Esteem

If a skill develops rapidly at a pace that is connected to the load of work being put in, children will enjoy seeing the results of their labors. It’s very important for them to know that in order to achieve success, they need to work hard. Doing that work, and earning that success with literally their own hands, builds confidence and self-esteem like nothing else.

Start that journey today with Cadenza. Come in for your first step on that journey! Send us an email at [email protected] or call us at 949-416-2355.

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