Guitar and The Brain

The Study of Music Does Amazing Things for The Brain

Playing guitar does amazing things to your brain development.
I just finished watching a 2-DVD, 6-hour lecture by Dr. Richard Restak.
Professor Restak teaches neuroscience at Washington University and is the author of about 20 books on the brain. I learned tons of things from watching professor Restak’s lecture.

As a professional musician, who is constantly looking for ways to learn more quickly and more effortlessly, I learned from watching this 6-hour lecture, how much the impact of my music studies on my brain, has contributed to my ability to learn much more effortlessly.

For one: Richard Restak spends a great deal of time talking about the unmistakable link between dexterity and brain development.
Turns out that doing exercise that improve finger independence, grows your brain and raises your IQ.

IQ is not something that is fixed upon birth. You can grow and develop it. The dexterity exercises you get out of learning and practicing an instrument, is one of the best ways to grow IQ no matter your age.
Not only that: not only does it further grow IQ, but also memory.
Apparently: there is a link between dexterity and memory development too.

That alone would have been enough reason for me to want to start learning an instrument.

All that Brain development also adds major quality of life to the people who learn an instrument.
I wrote about this in the past here:
The Life Enhancing Benefits You Get From Music Studies
and here
The Positive Influence of Music

Deliberate Practice vs. Natural Talent.

Countless volumes have been written trying to answer the question whether genetic natural talent or deliberate practice and training are the most important factors determining the likelihood of someone achieving the level of expert performer?

The answer to that question has important implications: if genius is genetic, then most of us are out of luck; but if individual effort is the essential component, then most people are capable of achieving impressive levels of musical performance.

It turns out that deliberate practice is more important than natural talent in determining success.

One piece of evidence comes from a study of musical trainees at the Music Academy of Berlin.
It was found that superior students, those who went on to have concert careers, practiced 24 hours a week while good students practiced only 9 hours a week. Similar patterns of long and intensive practice are found among athletes, chess players, mathematicians, and memory virtuosos.

I’t also pretty interesting to note that some of those studies have shown, contrarty to what many think, that you don’t have to practice hours and hours a day to reach expert performance. Just 3 to 4 hours a day consistenly every day, seems to be all it takes to achieve top level mastery.

A fantastic read about this is K. Anders Ericsson’s publication, The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance. It was published in the Psychological Review in 1993, by the American Psychological Association. It’s a very interesting, enlightening read I highly recommend.


Hit me up anytime at [email protected] if you would like me to send you a pdf of the aforementioned publication, if you have any questions, or if you would like to book a lesson.

Keep me informed on your progress. You can hit me up in the comments section below.
If you like this blog: give it a rating and feel free to also give me any feedback.
I believe everything can always be improved. I’d gladly implement your suggestions and ideas in this blog or the next.

Be on the look out for more blogs about everything guitar, music, songwriting and music education.
You’re on your way to becoming a great guitar player.
Have fun! 🙂

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