Brain health from guitars: How playing changes YOu

Rewiring the brain

By Aditya Shukla, Psychologist, Musician, Entrepreneur

The basics: Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity is the brain's default ability to rewire itself and change its activity in response to learning. Because playing is a complex skill which involves finger control, creativity, memory, analysis, and trusting your instinct, it's a perfect brain health tool.

The Transfer Effect


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The effect says learning one thing gives you performance benefits in something similar. Musical skills you learn will eventually help in your work and other hobbies - knitting, cooking, writing, everywhere.

Brain Reserve


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Brain reserve is a surplus of neural connections that compensate for age-related cognitive decline. So your brain ages slower because of it. Playing the guitar creates brain reserve across the whole brain because it involves 3 senses and many cognitive skills.

Fine motor skills


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A large part of your brain is dedicated to finger movements. Practicing finger movements improves hand eye coordination and creates brain reserve to fight off neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's.

The hyper-brain connection


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When a guitarist plays with other musicians, their brains sync up. This happens for all social activities that need coordination. The sync up is a reflection of learning to read body-language and collaborate toward a common goal.

It's therapeutic


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Many psychologist recommend a hobby like playing the guitar as a form of therapy. It distracts you from negative thoughts, builds confidence, helps with socializing, and is meditative. It then eases depression and anxiety.

That's how much of your brain's processing goes to fingers.

The hand size shows how much of the cortex governs finger movements compared to other body parts.