Being a Musician Is Good for the Brain

Highlights from an Inc article on the benefits of music on the brain caught my attention:

  1. Musical training reorganizes neuron structures in the brain, specifically the corpus callosum which integrates the two sides plus areas involving verbal memory, spatial reasoning, and literacy.
  2. It improves long-term memory, in part because it teaches the hippocampus how to store memories and recall them on demand.
  3. It improves executive function, things like processing and retaining information, controlling behavior, making decisions, and problem solving
  4. Musicians tend to be more mentally alert with faster reaction times.
  5. They tend to have better statistical use of multisensory information, so they are better able to integrate inputs from the various senses.
  6. The earlier a musician starts, the more drastic the changes.
  7. Music reduces stress and improves happiness.*
  8. Increases blood flow in the brain.

* Wonder if all this singing we do with Fleur plus Galahad’s piano practice is part of why she is a happy child? After all, we’ve been leveraging singing as a way to distract Miss Wriggly.

 

Provoking cognitive dissonance

Galahad takes music lessons which happen to be on the other side of town. I usually have the radio on and when something provocative is said, I turn it off to talk with him about it. I ask him questions to suss out what he thinks about it.

Somehow the topic for this drive home was pi. I explained that some mathematicians prefer tau instead and described what it is. He mentioned that the pi(e) meme-mification meant that it had staying power. However, I realized he was stuck on the concept of a pie as dessert.

So, to mess with his concept of pie, I asked what he thought was in shepherd’s pie. That frustrated him a little bit but not enough in my estimation, so I brought up a pizza pie. This deprived child. Had. No. Knowledge. Of. Dessert. Pizzas. He was stuck on the disgustingness of apples and marinara.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

12181634454_3fddcbb3c9_zFinally, he defended his concept of a pie as only pastries. So, I got him to look up just what is a pastry. He doesn’t look past the first one, which he read as:

a dough of flour and water, used as a base and covering in baked dishes [1]

He seizes on the lack of mentioning sweets in this to decide that many things are pastries that he never before considered:

  • calzones and strombolis
  • ravioli

He immediately texted his friends and was obsessed with this for the rest of the evening.

I am glad to help him work through trying to hold these conflicting thoughts at the same time and poke at him to think more deeply about them.

[1] The one I saw is:

a dough of flour, shortening, and water, used as a base and covering in baked dishes such as pies

I don’t remember him mentioning the shortening item. Or fats or anything similar that would indicate┬áhe knew what that is. I don’t think he knows enough about cooking to make the distinction. If he did, then he would know calzones and raviolis do not have a shortening ingredient in the dough. So, they are not actually pastries.

P.S. Next, I need to work on his research skills. He will love the Pop-Tarts are ravioli debate.