The the first time I heard anything about my brain being plasticized I thought it was a joke, or a strange new toy from the future. By now most people understand that plasticizing the brain means to train it and even reshape how it works.

My neural surgeon friends love to say " The neurons that fire together wire together". It's easy to remember and explains in a simple statement most of what I'm going to discuss in this article.

A simple and common example of how the neurons in our brain function is the reaction that two different people might have to the same function or event, creating two different associations. Let's say there is some yard work to be done; something like trimming a bush with a hand saw. Not just any bush, but the one that goes all the way around the front yard fence totaling twenty meters in length and is two feet deep.

Now both people get the job done in more or less the same time. The first person looked at the job like some awful task. He couldn't stand the heat, didn't like the awkward positions, and grumbled all the while. The second person enjoyed the exercise, loved looking around the neighborhood in between cuts, and looked at the job as a success that led to another success, as he went on to clean part of the basement while his hands were still dirty. Yahoo!

If you ever ask for help with yard work from these two people you'll get two very different responses. One person's brain associates yard work with sweat, pain, and toil. The second person's brain associates yard work with everything good for a human being. And these associations are very real, yielding a physical response that can be felt in each of the individuals.

Now we come to the very, very interesting part. In my experience as a piano teacher I have seen everyone, and I mean everyone and at any age, be able to plasticize their brain to something new. The youngest person I have taught was three years old. He had good examples in his older siblings that studied piano with me already. Week by week, and day by day he was able to practice and achieve piano techniques reserved for the average five year old. He saw playing piano as a natural function, and that was his association. The oldest person I taught was 83 years old. He was able to do compound time, with multiple notes in both hands within three weeks of practice. It's important to note that when he started he declared the task impossible and objected to the homework quite strongly. I just made him feel calm and safe, something his previous teacher did not do for him. His neurons of systematic work began to fire along with his relaxation and pleasure neurons. Hence the association of work, ease, and do-ability.

In one of the households I have the privilege to teach in, the mom is a family doctor. Somewhere in all the medical reports and journals that she has to read it is stated that when someone is practicing the piano they are actually building connections in the brain and are getting smarter. This is an amazing thing. And that's what I mean by plasticize your brain in style. Whether you are practicing piano, or training another skill, you can be learning something, creating something beautiful, and having fun. All this while you are getting smarter.

It may not be a toy from the future, but plasticizing your brain with style is a great way to live!

Author's Bio: 

Having an A.R.C.T. from the Royal Conservatory of Music Canada as well as an ability to improvise and compose, John Agius is recognized for creative solutions to multiple issues students have with learning the piano. Along with teaching, he is known for being personable and filling the space brightly, performing piano at parties and events. Some of these events include the Alaskan Cruise and the China Orient Express.

Having taught piano and performed for over 26 years John has a proven ability to bring music and learning to life.

To see more detailed examples of learning, particularly related to the piano, visit John's website: www.learn-piano-and-shine.com

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