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What playing music does for your brain

A couple months ago I was at a barbecue with a lot of interesting characters, one of whom was fairly high up in the hierarchy of a major defense contractor (I think it was Raytheon?). And we got to talking about a variety of subjects, but when he found out I was a musician, he asked, only half-joking, “You want a job?”  It turns out that those companies are prioritizing, of all things, MUSICAL ABILITY in new hires;  they’ve found that it correlates highly to the kind of creative, out-of-the-box, problem-solving mindset they look for in developing, of all things, NEW WEAPONS SYSTEMS.  


So from now on, instead of Video Exchanges featuring your progress on piano, please submit your plans for new weapons.  JUST KIDDING!  But I found this fascinating, though I don’t disagree.  Music, ESPECIALLY improvised music, calls on the brain to do a whole bunch of things that nothing else does.  And as we practice every day, our brains become wired to do those thing more and more efficiently.  I personally believe those things are also associated with having a quick sense of humor;  the funniest people I’ve ever met have almost entirely been musicians.  But science backs all of this up, as evidenced in this very well put-together little film.  Enjoy, and KEEP PRACTICING;  it’s not just about getting to nirvana as a player!