One nerd's opinion, reading music is better than reading a book

I’m not a doctor, neurologist, nor scientist. But it seems a general consensus that “smart” people read books and read often. In fact some people make it a mission to read a certain amount of books a year probably because they think it will be good for them. They’ll be more knowledgeable and more informed. In other words, reading is good for you and you should be doing more of it.

Well this depends. As you know from your school days, just because a person reads a book does not mean they learned something. You can’t force a person to be more informed or educated. Further… many times have you read a book and suddenly your mind wandered and you had to stop yourself for a moment and say, “wait…..what did I just read?” This is interesting because you just went through the motions of reading but mentally you absorbed nothing. Your mind was completely lost. You could go through a whole book and really get nothing out of it because you didn’t actively pay attention, but you mindlessly read words across the page.

Also reading is a passive activity, it doesn’t involve any movement in the body except movement of your eyes and your hands and arms to hold a book in front of you.

Reading music is a strange yet magical one. Just like a book, you move your eyes from left to right and you digest the symbols on the paper. However you can’t just mindlessly do it because each symbol commands a motor movement of your fingers, arms, feet, and or breath. And this is a constant thing going on while you read. Many times you have to stop reading and go back over something because you have to go over some fingering or breath control, etc etc. This cause you to be hyper aware in order to make the music you are reading.

It is my belief that this is a good thing for not just the mind and body, but even better exercise for your brain. You can’t just tune out while reading music, it forces you to take a physical action with whatever your reading. The mind and body are working in harmony rather than just focusing on one over the other.

If you don’t know how to read music on an instrument, its time to learn. I promise you will be rewarded even if you only play simple songs. Its a great thing. :)