Years of practice seem to change how the left and right halves of a drummer’s brain connect. According to a recent study, the wiring that unites the two hemispheres of a drummer’s brain is very different from that of non-musicians.
Drumming requires a unique level of skill. Drummers may use all four of their limbs to do different rhythmic tasks at the same time. This cannot be coordinated by someone who is not a drummer.
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“While most individuals can perform easy motor tasks with two hands at a similar level, very few individuals can perform complex fine motor tasks with both hands equally well,” according to the authors of the most current research.
Despite their exceptional talent, drummers’ brains have never been studied in study.
Several academics have recently made the decision to investigate how drumming affects the brain.
The authors, who are from the Bergmannsheil University Clinic in Bochum, Germany, and the biopsychology research unit at Ruhr-Universität, published the study in the journal Brain and Behavior Trusted Source.
To carry out their experiment, the scientists recruited twenty professional drummers, who were on average 17 years old and practiced for 10.5 hours a week. 24 control subjects were also recruited; these individuals did not play any musical instruments.
Using MRI scanning equipment, the scientists measured several elements of the anatomy and function of their brains.
Prior studies Numerous musicians have been the subject of studies showing how years of learning an instrument alter and adapt the brain.
The majority of these studies have examined changes in the gray matter cortex, which includes regions responsible for speech, memory, perception, decision-making, and many other functions.
The brain’s information superhighway, or white matter, was the focus of the most recent study’s authors.
When using the right hand to execute activities, the contralateral hemisphere, or left side of the brain, is often in charge of controlling right-handedness. When a person utilizes their left hand to perform an action, usually both sides of the brain cooperate.
This hemispheric asymmetry is mostly dependent on the corpus callosum, a broad band of white matter that links the two hemispheres.
Distant brain areas are connected by white matter tracts of fibers. Scientists used to believe that white matter was nothing more than functional wiring. They now believe it to be significantly more crucial to the brain’s normal function, though.
The authors of the current study primarily focused on the corpus callosum. This is the area they focused on because they believe that a drummer’s “remarkable ability to uncouple the motor trajectories of [their] two hands is likely related to inhibitory functions of the corpus callosum.”
As expected, there were differences in the corpus callosum shape between drummers and non-drummers.
Researchers found that the front, or front, part of a drummer’s corpus callosum had diffusion rates that were quicker than those of the controls. It demonstrates “microstructural alterations,” as the authors explain. The next question is: What type of structural changes have occurred?
Clinically speaking, higher diffusion rates in the corpus callosum are not recommended. Usually, it indicates damage to or loss of white matter, as in multiple sclerosis patients. Since all of these people were young and in good condition, there must be another reason for the discovery.
Although there are believed to be less fibers in drummers’ anterior corpus callosum than in non-drummers’, those that are present are thicker. This is important because thicker fibers send impulses faster.
Actually, studies have shown that quicker hemisphere-to-hemisphere transfer periods are correlated with mean diffusion scores.
The anterior part of the corpus callosum connects many brain regions, including “the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex [which is] related to decision-making during voluntary movement, as well as different areas related to motor planning and execution,” according to the scientists.
As part of the study, the researchers evaluated each participant’s drumming ability using specialist software. The test included a variety of drum beats based on gaming console technology, varying in complexity.
Based on how successfully each drummer repeated a preset drum pattern, the software generated a score. The drummers scored higher than the control group, as was to be expected.