Tahoe Pine Nuts: Best exercise? Pick up a musical instrument | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Pine Nuts: Best exercise? Pick up a musical instrument

McAvoy Layne
Pine Nuts

What's the best exercise your brain can possibly entertain? Chess? Crossword puzzle? Foreign language? Nope. Pick up a musical instrument and play it. If you don't know how to play it, learn.

Nothing excites the brain like playing a musical instrument. That's what today's FMRI & PET scans are telling us.

Playing music engages both hemispheres and nearly every back alley of the brain, particularly internal imagery, auditory perception, motor function, and the Corpus Callosum, that critical bridge between the two hemispheres.

While playing a musical instrument the human brain lights up like Coney Island on Saturday night.

Think of the brain as an orchestra, an orchestra that likes to practice and rehearse and perform, particularly perform.

There's a symphony going on right now inside your head, and that symphony can enhance every daily activity undertaken by your brain. As Plato reminds us, "Music gives wings to the mind, and flight to the imagination."

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Our world is made up of various rhythms, sun-up, sun-down. The body loves rhythm, and as science is telling us, so does the mind.

Leonardo da Vinci maintained that our very souls are composed of harmony. And memory storage? Musicians are the MVPs of memory storage.

Even just listening to music excites the brain like few other activities. People who listen to music before falling to sleep at night tend to sleep better than folks who watch movies or read a good book. This finding is the result of one study — mine.

Your next great keynote speech could be written while listening to a piece of inspirational music. The brain naturally picks up pitch, timing and timbre of music, and responds in kind to pitch, timing and timbre of language.

We don't die of old age, no, Sir, we die of inactivity, mental as well as physical. So if we desire to keep our brains in the best possible shape, well, neuroscientists are telling us to pick up a musical instrument and boogie down.

However, do take caution. Social mores suggest that when choosing a musical instrument to play, the accordion should be avoided at all cost. Whatever gains one might realize by learning to play the accordion might be lost on one's neighbor.

Listening to someone learning to play an accordion has been known to cause a teetotaler to take to drinking spirits. Beginning accordion music can cause shock, confusion, panic and anxiety.

If you suffer from high blood pressure, nervous disorder or palpitations of the heart, you should take precautions against subjecting yourself to apprentice accordion music, in particular, the strains of, "Auld Lang Syne."

If I could recommend one instrument and one tune that might quickly put you on the road to glory it would be the banjo and Richard Wagner's, "Parsifal."

If you can put those two together, banjo & Parsifal, you can then run a truck stop, or a hospital or an emerging country, or anything you want to run; and that's a perpendicular fact.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at ww.ghostoftwain.com.