Lesions among musicians are very frequent. This is surprising, even for the interpreters themselves.
It is for this reason that when a specialist in art medicine is invited to a medium of communication, the most common is to be questioned about the risks involved in this activity. Often, at the end of the interview, one has the feeling that rather than promoting injury prevention, what has been achieved is to prevent parents from taking their children to music schools.
Thus, although it is still necessary to explain why these injuries occur and, above all, how they can be avoided, I am increasingly having the need to include in my media interventions some positive message; Although I am rarely specifically asked about it. It is not a question of disparaging the risks of instrumental practice. But we must not forget its great benefits. Put simply, playing an instrument has great psychological, cultural, social, and even medical benefits.
And although it often entails certain physical ailments, these can be prevented. So, today, please, let me vent.
Let me tell you about the benefits of instrumental practice. Since these are numerous, I will focus, almost exclusively, on the medical type.
We know that any learning process involves changes in our body. These changes can be seen in the nervous system and, if the training performed carries a certain physical load, also in the skeletal and cardiovascular muscles.
Thus, brain functions related to the perception and execution of music, of course, are more developed in those who have received training in this field.
Musicians process music information faster and more accurately. This is achieved by increasing the size of the brain areas responsible for these tasks and an improvement in neural connections responsible for the perception and production of sound. But are these changes only useful for performance and musical perception or do they also have advantages in other fields?
There is evidence that the fields of language and music are closely interconnected. We even know that they share many areas of the brain. That is why we should not be surprised by the existence of scientific studies that show how the subjects trained in the musical field show greater abilities and abilities in the language. We know that these people construct and perceive language better, learn more easily The language itself, understand and learn better foreign languages and are clearly better at reading.
There are studies that show that those over 65 who participate in musical activities have a better quality of life. Their better ability to discriminate sounds also allows them to be more efficient. In understanding conversations in noisy environments, a problem that usually increases with age and that in musicians does to a lesser degree. The beneficial effects of musical practice on language are so evident that musical training is already being used as a tool for the improvement of speech and language disorders. Thus, for example, you are successfully testing for disorders such as dyslexia.
The musical learning is so specific that the skills that are acquired when playing do not have a clear and direct repercussion on other activities. Learning to play the piano does not automatically allow us to play the guitar or be better at typing on the computer keyboard. However, it has been found that musicians have more facilities for new motor learning. We know that the brain areas responsible for hand movements become, over time, a little larger in musicians. In musically untrained individuals, the cortical areas corresponding to the dominant hand (the left hemisphere in right-handed) are clearly greater than the contralateral ones.