The Best Hobby For Increasing Your Brain’s Performance


When I was a young kid, I played a lot of sports. When I was ten, my father told me that no matter how highly I achieved in my sports career, playing football and baseball wouldn’t be a lifelong pursuit. My body would age. I’d peak early.

That awareness led me to take up a new hobby in 4th grade: Drumming. It was this same awareness that made business-building so appealing to me in my mid 20s once I realized I could pursue it as a life-long endeavor. I’ve found a great complimentary nature in the decades since between music and building businesses.

Music can instantly change your mood, and it’s been scientifically proven to enhance brain activity. Neuroscientists have made major breakthroughs in discovering the benefits of making and playing music. The Journal of Neuroscience found that those who created music had more gray matter in the visual, auditory and sensory parts of their brains.

Gray matter is directly related to human intelligence, so having more of it is definitely a good thing. Listening to music stimulates the mind, and the act of physically making music sends that whole process into overdrive.

Researchers have found that almost every part of the brain is engaged while playing a musical instrument. It allows musicians to solve problems quicker, making the navigation of challenging day to day scenarios easier to manage. TED-Ed educator Anita Collins illustrates in this short animation how “playing music is the equivalent to a full-body workout.”

Like any good workout, you need to plan and put in work to makes those gains a reality.

A good tool that’s easy to use and lays a music foundation of limitless creativity makes this habit a joy. After scoping the landscape for a go-to product that could provide an easy way to activate your music-making chops, I found Singular Sound, a startup company challenging drum machine conventions and stereotypes. As a drummer myself, I’m hypercritical of drum machines–but this thing rocks.

When you miss a beat just keep playing

Singular Sound is the Miami-based tech company that makes the BeatBuddy. They intentionally designed it as a pedal to allow musicians the freedom to focus their hands on playing their selected instrument, while controlling the “drums” with their feet.

The BeatBuddy might be the most dynamic and affordable tools out there today for newbies and pros alike, but like all businesses, Singular Sound’s founders missed a few beats early on when turning their idea into a commercial product. I talked with founder and CEO David Packouz about the challenges they overcame and lessons they learned bringing a product from concept to reality.

His biggest mistake, he said, was trying to find low-cost engineers who could get the job. They didn’t exist. “I learned quickly that nobody, no matter how educated, is competent in all of the fields that are required to bring a complex product like this to market,” Packouz said. “For instance, even my electrical engineer didn’t know the right programming language. When you are building something new in hardware and software, the skills that are needed usually do not exist within one person.”

Packouz Googled his face off and got a large volume of quotes to compare various scopes of work and costs. From there, he deduced what made the most sense and where the likely ‘center’ of the project scope and budget needed to be.

“Don’t get lazy on getting quotes,” he said. “It is tedious and tiresome, but very important before you spend your limited resources.”

Rock out like you’re in an arena to change your perspective

Can you imagine what it would be like to have access to 300 drummers in one room all at once? When you are stuck on a business problem and need a break there is nothing better than an awesome drummer who can inspire you to new perspectives with a funky new beat.

The uses of this pedal blew me away. Make more gray matter, have more fun, make more money, and of course, make more music.

Since 2014, this incredible little pedal has received every major recognition in the industry. It has picked up Guitar World’s Platinum Award, an induction into the Guitar Player’s Hall of Fame, and won ‘Best in Show’ from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM).

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