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#576000 - 08/04/03 11:48 AM How does piano playing affect your brain?  
Joined: May 2003
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Krazypaul Offline
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Krazypaul  Offline
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I've read a few articles how playing the piano can increase your spatial skills and help relieve stress but one interesting theory that i have thought about is the complexity of a song you play that can affect your brain. Say that you play very difficult, complex pieces throughout your training, wouldn't your reasoning skills be affected or increased even more than a person going under a simliar length of training but with less difficult pieces?

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#576001 - 08/04/03 11:55 AM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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i heard that playing complicate piece makes you more multi-tasked, but i don't know much about effect on reasoning skill.
well, it's all good
skv

#576002 - 08/04/03 11:56 AM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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JBryan Offline
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JBryan  Offline
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I've heard it makes you smarter but it hasn't worked on me yet.


Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness. :t:
#576003 - 08/04/03 12:24 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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Goldberg Offline
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Goldberg  Offline
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Each time you practice, you work out certain places in your brain, and that causes different particles (for the life of me I can't remember the exact name of them...) to travel faster and faster. So, the more you practice, the easier it should be to think quickly and at higher levels.

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#576004 - 08/04/03 01:04 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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Brendan Offline
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McAllen, TX
I wasn't always this neurotic, you know.

#576005 - 08/04/03 01:18 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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kluurs Offline
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kluurs  Offline
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Chicago
Quote
Originally posted by Brendan:
I wasn't always this neurotic, you know.
how can you be sure??

#576006 - 08/04/03 01:53 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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zorro Offline
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zorro  Offline
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Deep, intense piano playing improves math skills, though I'm a rare exception...
I've also heard that some scientists conducted a research that showed that practicing an hour or two just before going to sleep lets you overcome difficulties in your sleep...
zorro


"I love Beethoven, especially the poems."
Ringo Starr
#576007 - 08/04/03 02:12 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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Krazypaul Offline
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Krazypaul  Offline
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I was just curious, I found a tremendous improvement in my math skills during the last 2 years, same years i started working on more difficult pieces. Everything in math for me is easy for some reason now...and i used to hate math because it was so hard.

Has anyone come across a site where they acutally did studies and talked about results?

#576008 - 08/04/03 02:28 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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kluurs Offline
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kluurs  Offline
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Chicago
Quote
Originally posted by zorro:
Deep, intense piano playing improves math skills, though I'm a rare exception...
I've also heard that some scientists conducted a research that showed that practicing an hour or two just before going to sleep lets you overcome difficulties in your sleep...
zorro
That's odd, when I play, everyone else seems to fall asleep...

wink

#576009 - 08/04/03 03:12 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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PianoMuse Offline
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PianoMuse  Offline
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I know I have seen an improvement in how quickly I react to something. For example, when something comes at me, I can grab it far faster than most others can. I attribute this to piano, as I used to be extrodinarily slow!!

Practicing before bed is a bad idea. As I'm laying there, I start to go over all sorts of things I want to do with the music, and end up staying up for longer than I meant!
Composing is even worse. I have stayed up half the night because of it!


"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." ~Rachmaninoff
#576010 - 08/04/03 03:16 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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Nunatax Offline
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Nunatax  Offline
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Belgium
Quote
Originally posted by zorro:
Deep, intense piano playing improves math skills, though I'm a rare exception...
Look at it from the bright side : if you had never started playing the piano, your maths would have been worse than they are now laugh

Someone told me that if you play the piano, your math skills go up with 30%... Never been able to prove that empirically though smile

Michiel


Some can tell you to go to heck in such a manner that you would think you might actually enjoy the trip, but that is far more polite than civil - JBryan
#576011 - 08/04/03 03:41 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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JBryan Offline
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JBryan  Offline
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Oklahoma City
My math skills are 150% of what they could be.


Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness. :t:
#576012 - 08/04/03 04:00 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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zorro Offline
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zorro  Offline
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Mesa, AZ
confused


"I love Beethoven, especially the poems."
Ringo Starr
#576013 - 08/04/03 04:19 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
apple* Offline
apple*  Offline


Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
My math skills are not.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, ├Ľun (apple in Estonian)
#576014 - 08/04/03 05:29 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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Nunatax Offline
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Nunatax  Offline
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Belgium
Quote
Originally posted by zorro:
confused
Once I came home with about 74% on my maths exam. The same day my mother had read about the phenomenon that your math skills improve with about 30% if you play the piano a lot. She told me (sarcastically of course) that my result was awful and that I should be glad that I played the piano because otherwise I would have scored no more than 44% smile
That's what I meant laugh

Michiel


Some can tell you to go to heck in such a manner that you would think you might actually enjoy the trip, but that is far more polite than civil - JBryan
#576015 - 08/04/03 06:30 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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ericz Offline
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ericz  Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by kluurs:
That's odd, when I play, everyone else seems to fall asleep...

wink
Hopefully you play a lot of nocturnes. wink

#576016 - 08/04/03 08:03 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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inigo17 Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Goldberg:
Each time you practice, you work out certain places in your brain, and that causes different particles (for the life of me I can't remember the exact name of them...) to travel faster and faster. So, the more you practice, the easier it should be to think quickly and at higher levels.
I am by no means an expert (at 17), but I seem to recall from physiology something like this: In the cortex of your brain, there are pathways that the impulses from your brain travel on, in order to get where they need to go (such as fingers, when you want to move them). As you do something over and over, your brain constantly finds more efficient pathways for these signals to travel on. This is why things become easier with practice. As you get older, new pathways are built with decreasing frequency, and the same pathways are used for skills that are similar. It would make sense then, if you equate the logical thinking of musical structure to logic and reasoning in other areas, that playing difficult pieces would increase your ability in say, math for example.

#576017 - 08/04/03 10:20 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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Krazypaul Offline
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Krazypaul  Offline
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Heh, i should look for more rachmaninoff and Liszt pieces then.... smile

But i also recall that this kind of effect doesn't work for everyone single person, but i know it's working for me and i finally realized it

#576018 - 08/04/03 10:28 PM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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subarus Offline
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I don't know if playing improve my brain, automagically. But I do know that it is more fulfilling to spend the hour on the piano rather than on the tv.

I still remember and rejoice from the things I accomplished a month ago on the piano. I dont even remember what David Letterman said last night.

Regarding math, when I am old and senile, I'd rather be humming some chopin pieces in my head than reciting some stupid Fourier transform equations helplessly

ps: Sigma[A1.Cos(2.PI.f1.t)]=(A1/2)d(f+f1) + (A1/2)d(f-f1)

oh no.. I am already senile smile

#576019 - 08/05/03 01:34 AM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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lemoncoke Offline
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hongkong
Playing more contrapuntal will become an architect?

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#576020 - 08/05/03 03:34 AM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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LudwigVanB Offline
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Atlanta
The research indicates that the brain is like muscles and the rest of your body, you use it or lose it. Therefore, the brain requires exercise just like muscles. Playing a musical instrument requires intense brain activity, the equivalent of brain exercise. This keeps it sharp and "in shape" so to speak. It is not likely that this increases reasoning skills or any other skill per se, anymore than lifting weights would make one a better golfer. However, it does make it easier to learn simply by the fact the muscles are in shape, allowing efficiecny and peak performance.

Quote
Practicing before bed is a bad idea. As I'm laying there, I start to go over all sorts of things I want to do with the music, and end up staying up for longer than I meant!
Composing is even worse. I have stayed up half the night because of it!
The research indicates practicing before going to bed is the best time. After practice is when the actual learning takes place so your laying there going over the music is brain activity focusing on what you just practiced. There is a study you can find by searching news archives (MSNBC for e.g.) in which subjects were given a complex brain chore (not musical) just before going to bed. They were hooked up to wires during the exercise and measurements were taken to show which areas of the brain were active. When the subjects fell asleep they measured extensive brain activity in the same areas. They also found that the subjects who performed the chore just before going to bed improved their skills over people who were tested in the morning and did not go to bed. The conclusion is that the brain is working out these patterns during sleep which enhances the learning.

Quote
As you get older, new pathways are built with decreasing frequency, and the same pathways are used for skills that are similar.
You will find no research to back this up. You are merely repeating the myth that as one grows older one loses brain power. This myth grew out of rank speculation. To the contrary, intense use of the brain such as playing a musical instrument keeps the brain as sharp in old age as it was in youth. When Horowitz was playing at 90+ he may have lost some of his fine coordination but interviews showed he was mentally as sharp as he ever was.

#576021 - 08/05/03 03:52 AM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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PJ Offline
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I think that any improvement in 'reasoning and logic skills' is more like seeing an improvement in liver or kidney function after getting physically fit. It's more like the whole brain just gets generally more stimulated and so works more efficientally, not like playing music actually is practicing logic. I also think you;d get the same effect from working hard at any mentally stimulating thing.

I also think that the 'people who are good at maths are good at music' theory, is a lot to do with attitude. What I mean is that playing a musical instrument the 'right' way takes a lot of care and patience and slow and methodical work, much like mathematics. It's not something that can be rushed.


\o/
#576022 - 08/05/03 08:48 AM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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victorialis Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Brendan:
I wasn't always this neurotic, you know.
Brendan, there's another way to look at this.

A neurotic world has reflected upon you -- and you're aware of it.


"I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
#576023 - 08/05/03 09:25 AM Re: How does piano playing affect your brain?  
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Iowa City, IA
The research on this subject is inconclusive at this time. While a few short-term studies have shown that there is some increase in brain activity associated with music learning, no long-term studies have shown any far reaching effects.

Personally, I feel that exercising one's brain in any capacity makes one smarter - be in in the practice of music, the doing of crossword puzzles, or making sand castles.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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