Better Decisions Through Music?
Crashing a drumstick against a snare, pressing your fingers upon the keys of a piano, sweeping a pick across a guitar’s strings — these actions, and many more, a friend recently told me, were her form of “meditation.”
Not in the Buddhist sense, I should clarify. She wasn’t suggesting that playing an instrument was tantamount to seeking enlightenment, precisely, but she did seem adamant that the act of making music offered some unique problem solving benefits.
To me, the idea of music affecting the brain wasn’t a new one — I’ve read about studies showing the links between jazz improvisation and creativity , for instance. Playing music as a way to clear your mind and make better decisions, though?
I’ll cut to the chase and give you the answer you’ve likely been anticipating — yes. In addition to the numerous articles [2, 3, 4, 5] extolling how the act of playing an instrument can help you think more clearly, it’s something I’ve experienced firsthand.
It goes something like this: you have a problem, the pressure is mounting, so you sit down to play your instrument of choice and think about what you should do. Once you’re in “the zone,” not only is the weight of whatever’s been on your mind start to lift, the answers you’ve been seeking — what’s the right decision, what to do next, etc. — start to flow faster than you could have anticipated.
For me, it’s a technique that works every time, but I wonder if other musicians would say the same? If you’ve experienced a similar phenomenon (or not), comment below or drop me a line.