Do you remember the scene in The Full Monty when the group was in line at the Welfare Agency and they started moving unconsciously to the music that was playing? How many times have we all done that? I often find that when I am in the gym, I start moving to the beat of the music that is playing. The instructors know the power that the music has over us to keep us going. It pushes us to move, even when we think we can’t do another thing.
Playing music has an even more powerful effect on the brain. For those of us with Parkinson’s, music may be an essential exercise for our brains. I have been taking piano lessons for the past 3 years to keep my fingers moving. That has definitely helped. My dexterity has improved, it calms my tremor and makes me feel good. But one of the problems that I discovered is that it is easy to play each hand separately, but when combining them, I have a much more difficult time. And I can’t memorize music at all anymore. In a chat room on Patients Like Me, I found that I was not alone. My unscientific take on this is that we are using both sides of our brain when playing with both hands and the lack of dopamine makes it difficult for the two sides to work together. And outside distractions make it even more difficult.
So why do this happen? Take a look at this Ted-Ed video
Even if you have never picked up an instrument before, now may be the right time to start making music. Your brain will thank you for it.