It’s no secret that the benefits of learning a language or an instrument at a young age can be seen all throughout your adult life and beyond. The kinds of skills you learn not only better your linguistic abilities but develop your mathematical and problem solving skills as well.
Therese Sullivan Caccavale, president for the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL), explains how a study in Harwich, Massachusetts, “showed that students who studied a foreign language in an articulated sequence outperformed their non-foreign language learning peers on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System.”
Students who have studied a foreign language have a likelier chance of succeeding on a test that has very little to do with literal logistics.
Another supposedly beneficial skill is learning how to play an instrument. Again, we see the benefits of problem solving and comprehension as learning music theory mirrors the concept of learning another language.
However, music also brings on a new set of physical benefits for children, contributing to the development of fine motor skills, good posture and coordination. All important for the development and sharpening of basic skills.
Even though language and music are extremely beneficial for children’s development, the kind of skills and capabilities these challenges require are beneficial for people of all ages.
Quite often I have witnessed the concerns of people who have finished with school and aren’t forced to challenge their brain on a daily basis. This includes people like office workers whose daily tasks do not require a lot of creative thinking.
Websites like Lumosity are dedicated to these people, providing several kinds of games that workout brain skills like memory and deduction. The 70 million members just go to show how common it is for people to feel like they need to be doing more to keep their brain sharp.
But for a more indirect approach to the concept of exercising your brain, and maybe to fulfill a lifetime dream, it would be just as beneficial to learn an instrument or a language.
Language requires creative thinking to piece together sentences, deductions to translate and make sense of other people’s words and, of course, memory as there’s always a lot of vocabulary.
Plus, it has become easier (and cheaper) than ever to learn another language. Duolingo, a free language learning website, takes you step by step through the process of learning another language. Unlike, Rosetta Stone, you don’t have to download it onto a computer and for more casual use, it’s an application for iPhones.
Admittedly, the cost of learning an instrument is a little bit more pricey but even that has become easier than ever, and the benefits are never ending.
TED-ed, an organization for developing cool ways to teach lessons, made a video describing the benefits of playing an instrument. They explain it as a full brain workout, as it strengthens the connection between the left side of the brain’s linguistic/mathematical principles, and the right side of the brain’s creative processes. This stronger connection allows messages to get across the brain faster, benefitting the musician by allowing him/her to process concepts more efficiently.
The same kind of skills that these opportunities teach kids are beneficial to citizens of all ages.Over time, it isimportant to keep one’s brain sharp as one’s entire body inevitably begins to wear down. The kinds of skills you learn as a child require constant practice and exercise to keep them sharp and fresh, but they will benefit you for the rest of your life.