Play Attention improves the cognitive skills that lay the foundation for strong Executive Functioning, but many of our clients would like to know other activities they can do outside of their Play Attention sessions to improve cognitive skills even more. In the coming weeks, we'll be giving specific examples of such activities divided into age category. This week, we're going to talk about teens:
Activity 2 for Teens: Organized Musical/Artistic Expression
Areas developed: Attention, impulse control, working memory, cognitive flexibility.
Learning how to play a musical instrument is often an excellent way to strengthen cognitive skills. The same is true with organized singing and/or dancing instruction. Such tasks have multiple, complicated processes that must be negotiated simultaneously. These include rhythm, cadence, pitch, and tone. Any musical performance or dance routine will share these components, thereby strengthening attention, working memory, and cognitive flexibility (a person's ability to smoothly "shift" from one task to another). Also, since a successful performance requires the person to closely follow the musical score or dance routine, impulse control is key. In other words, a participant learns to inhibit their tendency to "do whatever they want" without thinking of consequences.
Given the popularity of so many young entertainers for whom singing, dancing, or playing an instrument has brought them fame, such activities are inherently appealing to a teen, thus making them an excellent choice for cognitive skill development.