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Buddha and the Brain: fretting and fingerpicking

posted May 11, 2013, 3:05 PM by Keith Johnson   [ updated May 30, 2013, 6:10 PM ]
"In the past 20 years scientists have discovered that intensive training can make a difference [in brain growth]. For instance, the portion of the brain that corresponds to a string musician's fingering hand grows larger than the part that governs the bow hand -- even in musicians who start playing as adults." (from "Buddha on the Brain" pg. 97 in Wired magazine, Feb. 2006).
So, this is looking at violin playing, but what about the impact of guitar playing on the non-fretting hand, particularly when you are not simply bowing (not that bowing is simple) but are picking, fingerpicking, and/or strumming. Learning to play guitar (and mandolin and similar stringed instruments) with the fretting and picking hands must be good for the brain and brain growth, and good for those little tendrils snaking around your brain. If the tactile, precise, and particular finger movements of the fretting hand leads to brain growth, it would make sense that similar particular fingerpicking actions on the non-fretting but picking hand, would stimulate brain growth as well. I would think that the tactile, kinesthetic benefits for the fretting hand would correspond equally with the fingerpicking hand, wouldn't you? Meaning that Fingerpicking AND fingering the strings would equally enhance the brain.