The Brain-boosting Power of Music

Today is Make Music Day, a celebration of music-making around the world. It launched in France in 1982 as Fête de la Musique and is now celebrated in 120 countries.

The only rule of Make Music Day is that concerts and gigs to celebrate are free. It’s all about sharing the joy of music with friends and strangers alike.

At The Being Group we celebrated with our own little concert after work yesterday. (Including a few drinks and pizzas.)

Apart from some stellar performances, it’s remarkable how many of us are both working creatives and keen musicians.

Almost one-third of our Beings sing, play an instrument, or both, and we also have a broad bunch skilled in theatre and dance.

Featured at our concert

Our CEO, Siebert Neethling, is an accomplished conductor, who also plays the piano, trumpet, trombone, flugelhorn and guitar, and sings in a rich baritone.

Copywriter Phil Barker is an enthusiastic amateur who has sung in punk bands for 35 years and started teaching himself guitar at 50.

Senior Designer Tim Meaco has a falsetto so good he’s sung in professional Led Zeppelin tribute shows. He was also lead singer and guitarist for beloved Sydney band The Lockhearts and toured Europe in a choir as a teen. He’s currently working on a soulful, pared-back solo project called Harper Hayes.

Senior Videographer Ian Knighton sings backup vocals and plays guitar in the popular punk band, Molly and the Krells. (Think Weezer, Offspring and Green Day.) The band is a regular at festivals around the country, including a cool stint at Uncaged.

Other musical Beings

Our Visual Media Director, Josh Favaloro, learned his professional craft making country music videos and was even an ARIA Nominee for Country Music Video of the Year in 2015. In his free time, he plays the guitar, piano and drums.

Relationship Manager Sophie van den Bogaerde is a classical pianist, plays the flute and is a trained singer, who often performs at weddings and cafes.

Despite uncanny similarities in appearance to Benny from ABBA, circa 1973, our Videographer Ben Pittorino doesn’t sing — but is learning the guitar.

Our newest Being — Designer Charlene Zee — plays violin, piano, the two-stringed erhu and the pipa, sometimes known as the Chinese lute.

We’ve also got a few Beings who prefer to express their musicality through dancing. Our Video Producer Steph is accomplished at pole, Copywriter Leisha studied ballroom for many years, and our Copy Lead Emily takes ballet, jazz and contemporary classes each week.

A whole-brain workout

While it’s remarkable how many of our Beings are musical, it’s not really a surprise. Music and creative minds go hand in hand.

Playing an instrument is a whole brain workout. It induces neuroplastic changes — the neurons that fire together, wire together — right across the brain. Your occipital lobe looks after pitch and rhythm, the temporal lobe processes sound, the frontal lobe runs the music and remembers where you are in the song, and incoming sensory information is processed in the parietal lobe.

The strong and varied neural connections that come from playing music improve cognitive efficiency, are proven to keep your brain firing efficiently as you age, and enhance overall physical and psychological health.

Listening to happy music improves cognition, enhances learning and memory, and sparks “divergent thinking” — the ability to come up with original, creative ideas.

There is a moment in the creative process called incubation, where you’re mulling over a problem at a subconscious level. This is when you’re most likely to have eureka! moments of insight — like when you can’t recall a word and it comes to you later, when you’re not aware you’re thinking about it.

Do your future brain a favour

If your brain is busy with stressful, taxing work, there might not be enough bandwidth for an insight to pop into your head. But playing or listening to music is the perfect environment for new ideas to spring to life.

There’s no doubt there’s a strong link between playing music and a strong, healthy, creative brain. If there’s one lesson from Make Music Day, it’s that it’s never too late to do your brain a favour and pick up an instrument (or pop in your earbuds) today.

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything else.” — Plato

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