Music makes you smarter

By | October 26, 2009 playing a musical instrument changes the anatomy and function of the brain and may be used in therapy to improve cognitive skills.

There is growing evidence that musicians have structurally and functionally different brains compared with non-musicians. In particular, the areas of the brain used to process music are larger or more active in musicians. Even just starting to learn a musical instrument can changes the neurophysiology of the brain.

Lutz Jäncke, a member of Faculty of 1000 Medicine, proposes using music in neuropsychological therapy, for example to improve language skills, memory, or mood. In a review for Faculty of 1000 Biology Reports, an online publication in which leading researchers highlight advances in their field, Jäncke summarizes recent studies of professional musicians.

The brain regions involved in music processing are also required for other tasks, such as memory or language skills. “If music has such a strong influence on brain plasticity,” writes Jäncke, “this raises the question of whether this effect can be used to enhance cognitive performance.”

Several studies indeed show that musical practice increases memory and language skills, and Jäncke suggests expanding this field: “Hopefully, the current trend in the use of musicians as a model for brain plasticity will continue … and extend to the field of neuropsychological rehabilitation.”

via Music makes you smarter.

I’ve been playing since I was about 12 years old. Some of my original music is playable and downloadable from the panel on the left. It is never too late to start. Just buy an instrument and start messing around with it. Music makes life better.

6 thoughts on “Music makes you smarter

  1. Patrick

    I’m always regretting that I never learned to play instrument. I love to learn and love music and find music theory fascinating. I’m just not sure which instrument I should try. Does the instrument you like the most equate to the instrument that you should be playing? my favorite sounding instrument is the clarinet. Should I learn the clarinet? I like to sing but have no training, should I take singing lessons instead? How do you figure out which instrument you’re most suited to?

  2. Xeno Post author

    It does sound like you should try the clarinet, definitely. Whatever inspires you. Trial and error. I fell in love with the way guitars looked and sounded. Then, as I was learning, I fell in love with the fact that you can keep getting better and better at it pretty much your entire life. I guess most instruments are this way, but I choose guitar because I can play and sing and because you can’t take a piano on a picnic. I didn’t like most trumpets but I heard Chet Baker and liked the sound he got so much that I went out and got a trumpet and I’ve been playing with that. I also like the Obo because it sounds really lonely.

    For what it’s worth, here is a quiz you can take and it will tell you which instrument you should play. 😉

  3. Mantratheatre Relations

    I agree, music do make us smarter. Some music makes us smarter than others.

    If you like, you can also see our site on musicals and broadway shows.

  4. BRAN

    Imagine that, the areas of the brain used to process music may be larger than on those who study music. Duh. I have played for years and i am also a fairly smart fellow, but i can honestly say that i have never been wowed by the intelligence of a single musician throughout my life. I see absolutely no correlation between intelligence and music. To the contrary i can probably make a better case for diminished intelligence from prolonged exposure to music.

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