What happens to the brain when you make music? Does making music really prevent dementia and other diseases of old age?
Dear friends of music,
Prof. Dr. Christian Steinhäuser, head of the Institute for Cellular Neuroscience at the Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn, will give a lecture in the Musikstudio this Saturday afternoon that you shouldn’t miss! Prof. Dr. Lütjohann wrote the following text for the Musikstudio , which you can also find here on the website with references:
The ability to make music is one of the most demanding performances of our central nervous system. Nearly all areas of the human brain are being activated during that process. Regular practice allows the interaction of the senses with the musculoskeletal system. This constitutes the basis for the control of an instrument.
Our entire nervous system consists of billions of neurons interconnected with each other, communicating through trillions of links with each other. The performances of the brain are based on structural as well as functional organization – which means how neurons are networked in the wiring diagram of the brain, how they work together and influence each other. In contrast to cells with other features, neurons are highly specialized nervous cells, which are by means of chemical and electrical processes capable of receiving, interpreting and forwarding environmental stimuli through receptors as information in the form of spikes. This information is received e.g. through light impulses or sound waves. Our brain is able to transform electrical impulses in conscious experience. One could say: our brain only transforms sound waves into music.
In contrast to most cell types, neurons cannot divide or proliferate. However, the neural progenitor cells have this capability. They are able to take over neural tasks. During that process new contacts are being linked with each other. This is how learning shapes the brains structure. The cells, which are being used, build stronger links, whereas the not demanded cells wither.
The functional and structural adaptation of the nervous system to special requirements is known as neuroplasticity. The tremendous versatility of the brain remains intact for a lifetime, which trials with adult piano beginners have verified. After only a 20-minute practice new nerve links can be proven in aspiring pianists: Cerebral areas for sensory perception and movement link in an intensified way. Playing the piano helps to practice coordination and concentration and develops an emotionally stimulating effect. Therefore we are not born with a finished neuronal network. Our brain has a huge potential for development. Take advantage of your “neurogenic Reserve“.
Of course, my students will also be there and show you up close that making music is not only good for your health, but also a real joy for the soul.
If you have always wanted to know more about this topic and if you are maybe also considering whether it is worth learning a musical instrument in old age, then you have come to the right place!
Saturday, 14th of November 2020
starting at 3:30 pm
Concert at 3:30 pm
Admission is free
Lecture at 5 pm
Admission for the lecture: 10,-€