As you continue to make personal pivots this year, what activities are you involved in that will help you stay sharp?
While crossword puzzles, reading and board games can be interesting, I’d like to challenge you to consider stretching yourself to a whole new level by studying music. If you’re looking for the ultimate way to stimulate your brain, learn to play a musical instrument.
Neuroscientists are beginning to show that playing a musical instrument can be compared to a full-body workout for the brain.
Studying music is like learning a new language. It takes daily practice, repetition and a lot of patience, but the rewards are amazingly gratifying.
You may recall a previous post where I lauded my amazing piano teacher, Kristian. At the time I began taking piano lessons with him, I was in my late 50s. I started from scratch and didn’t have any unrealistic expectations. I just had a personal desire to infuse extra beauty and pleasure into my life.
Can you imagine your brain waking up from a sustained siesta and being forced to perform like an Olympic gymnast? That’s my brain when playing piano.
Research has demonstrated that learning to play a musical instrument stimulates the brain, and improves memory and abstract reasoning.
I believe that learning to play a musical instrument is the perfect brain boost. I admit that my wellness business, Lifestyle 120, has soaked up most of my time, and I haven’t been able to practice in more than a year. I really miss it and thought I may have lost seven years of hard work. But recently, I sat down with the keys and was surprised that the scales, chords, and a few simple pieces are still in my memory bank. I truly believe that my level of achievement with the piano instilled a confidence unlike any other experience and has transferred over to my business activities. My level of proficiency in playing piano got me thinking, “If I can be successful playing this particular selection, there’s no limit to what I can accomplish!”
If you are new to playing piano, expect a massive learning curve: reading the notes, translating the notes from the page to the keys, getting your fingers to cooperate on the keyboard, coordinating the damper pedal, comprehending music theory, and eventually playing the piece the way it was intended. Measure by measure, line by line. It may take weeks, but what an exceptional feeling of accomplishment when you can play your piece with confidence!
My intention this year is to carve out short practice sessions a few times a week just to stay in this fun and fascinating brain-boosting curve. If you can dedicate an hour to daily practice, I strongly recommend learning to play a musical instrument. And if you already play an instrument, consider learning another. Be challenged and entertained. Improve your mental faculties by becoming a music student.
For me, playing the piano has many fringe benefits. When sitting in front of the keys, I must become detached from other things that are going on in my life. In this way, playing is a form of therapy — a reprieve from daily responsibilities. It also helps to create harmony in my life. Learning my favorite jazz and blues pieces, as well as classical selections by the masters, makes me feel joyful and grateful.
Four Steps to Nourish, Transform and Flourish
• This week set a loving intention to investigate your options for playing a musical instrument. Reach out to friends and music studios, and research virtual offerings.
• Begin by acknowledging that it’s never too late to start playing the instrument of your choice.
• How will daily practice help you stay sharp and elevate your brain to a whole new level?
• Close your eyes and visualize how this lifestyle change can prepare you for your amazing second half.
Need help creating a plan to improve your mental faculties?
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In love, peace and health--
Your feminine glow guide,
T. Kari Mitchell, M.Ed.
Certified Holistic Health Coach
When your spirit is nourished, your inner light produces an outer glow reflecting your beauty and truth.