Music is a Total Brain Workout
"Learning to play a musical instrument is like solving a puzzle," Calhoon says, "putting pieces together to make a whole." As a former medical technologist, Calhoon knows puzzles. "I have osteoarthritis in my fingers, so playing the ukulele also provides exercise that's fun," she says. "And my brain, of course, sends messages to my hands." "It's about brain plasticity," Grant says. "Playing an instrument activates the entire brain. Visual input, tactile input, fine motor coordination, memory, visual processing and sequencing skills are necessary to play even a simple piece on a piano." "As we age, we tend to rely on habits and information we already have, without challenging our brains," Grant says. "And it's effective for degenerating brains because we have more avenues to access stored information."