Stimulate your brain with Tuesday hand-drumming sessions

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    By Paul Roberts
    Special to The PREVIEW
    Join musician and music therapist Paul Roberts for a free hand-drumming class at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse on Tuesday, March 26, at noon.
    “An active engagement with musical sounds not only enhances neuroplasticity, but also enables the nervous system to provide the stable scaffolding of meaningful patterns so important to learning,” stated Nina Kraus, author of a review compiling research linking musical training to learning.
    Many aspects of our brain’s physical structure and functional organization can be altered. Scientists use the term neuroplasticity to describe the brain’s ability to adapt and change by forming new neural connections.
    Music is a powerful stimulator of the brain. In recent years, there has been an explosion of research focusing on the effects of music training on the nervous system. This research gives insight into how music can prime the brain to perform better in many other cognitive abilities.
    In an article titled, “Music and Brain Plasticity: How Sounds Trigger Neurogenerative Adaptations,” the authors propose that “music represents a sort of enriched environment that invites the brain to raise its general level of conscious functioning.”
    In the hand-drumming class, we’re having a lot of fun exploring a myriad of rhythmic realms. When we think of rhythmic pulse, generally we’re thinking of four intervals or three beats. When we play in odd time signatures, such as 5/4, 7/8, 9/8 and 10/8, we have to fundamentally alter the way our brains process music and how our bodies feel it.
    Unless a person was raised in a culture where odd rhythms are common, such as the Balkans or India, it can be a challenge to catch on to the symmetries of these rhythms.
    Are we strengthening our brains and making them perform with more agility, speed and comprehension? Are we prompting the neurons in our brains to branch out and create new connections? The class offers participants a chance to tune into themselves and conduct their own research.
    Creating music is not just for a gifted elite. Nearly everyone has musical ability. The purpose of this class is to provide an opportunity for people of all ages to unleash their creativity. No previous experience is necessary. Drums are provided for those who do not have one.
    For more information, call 731-3117. The Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave.