ELI5/What happens to the body and brain when we draw or play instruments


ELI5/What happens to the body and brain when we draw or play instruments

In: 6

I’m not a neuroscientist or anything of the kind, but I’ve read articles out of curiosity. If you’re asking what happens to our bodies and brains over time–that generally depends on the activity. For example, a guitar player’s fretting hand will generally be more flexible, dextrous and “stretchy”, since the fretting hand is responsible for forming chords of varying complexity and such. As for the brain, neuroscience says that practicing musicianship is healthy and beneficial, with benefits to things like language/audio processing, memory, reaction times, etc.

These effects are considerable in developing children, since their brains are very plastic, as compared to the fully developed brains of adults, which are much less plastic.

As for what happens in the moment: again, I imagine that depends on the activity. Different parts of our brains light up, activating and exercising different functions, as well as inducing a rewarding sense of pleasure. There is also a phenomenon known as the “flow state”, aka being “in the zone”. Athletes, artists, musicians, gamers and others can experience the flow state. In this state, there is reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for higher functions, like our sense of time, complex decision making, and the “inner critic”. This is why, in the flow state, time seems to fly by, our focus is intensified, and we generally perform at our best, without the interference of our “inner critics” and anxiety.

If anyone has to correct me, feel free to.

[Here](https://www.richroll.com/podcast/andrew-huberman-533/) is one of many podcasts with Dr. Andrew Huberman. He’s a neuroscientist who talks about neuroplasticity. Basically it’s expanding your brain’s ability to learn new things. I think he mentions how this is linked to reducing late age cognitive disorders.

So basically you’re flexing your brain by being creative or learning a new instrument, etc.