SIMPLY playing a musical instrument could sharpen up your brain and help delay the onset of a decline in a person’s mental abilities, according to new research at a leading Scottish university.
Researchers at St Andrews University have uncovered evidence that musicians have sharper minds and are able to pick up mistakes and fix them quicker than the rest of the population.
And they believe their findings suggest that learning to play a musical instrument could protect against the decline in mental abilities through age or illness.
The study, published in the latest edition of the journal Neuropsychologia, states that the findings demonstrate the potential for “far-reaching benefits” of musical activity on mental and physical well-being.
The study was led by St Andrews psychologist Dr Ines Jentzsch, who compared the cognitive ability of amateur musicians versus non-musicians in performing simple mental tasks.
She explained that the most striking difference she found lay in the ability of musicians to recognise and correct mistakes.
They also responded faster than those with little or no musical training, with no loss in accuracy.
Dr Jentzsch, a Reader in the university’s School of Psychology