How Playing an Instrument Makes You Smarter
Updated: Nov 18, 2018
A quick google search is all you need to access all sorts of academic articles and scientific journals proving that music makes you smarter. Fact. Here are my favourite soundbites - read this to feel smug if you are already learning a musical instrument and to motivate yourself to set up some lessons with me if you're not!
Musicians have bigger brains
Playing a musical instrument works both the left and the right hand sides of the brain at once, which enlarges our corpus callosum (the bridge between both sides of the brain), which means we are better at using our creativity and logic simultaneously. It's like a superpower! Einstein's genius is often attributed to an enlarged corpus collosum, and it's no coincidence he played the violin. A recent study showed that professional musicians also have 107% more grey matter in their brains, and amateur musicians have 37% more grey matter than non musicians. Grey matter is involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control, FYI.
Your bigger brain improves these skills:
memory and abstract reasoning (important for academic subjects such as maths and science)
team building, empathy and confidence (great social skills)
patience and resilience
verbal memory, spatial reasoning and literacy skills.
creativity and imagination
analysis and problem solving
Smarter people are healthier people
One study has shown that the physical demands of learning an instrument increases white blood cells, vital for an effective immune system, because different instruments improve bodily functions such as breathing and circulation. Improving these areas may in turn lower the chances of harmful activity within the body's nervous system. Playing an instrument may also enhance our mental health through boosting confidence, pride, self-esteem and as an outlet for processing and understanding our emotions.
So, what are you waiting for?