Many smart people are said to have played musical instruments as little kids. But is that enough evidence that playing a musical instrument will make you smarter? A closer look at the facts will show you that there is a point in the arguments. The fact that musicians are known to have superior sensory information, including hearing, sight and touch, certainly lends credence to the argument.
It is also true that most of the children who attend music schools or are taught to play one musical instrument or the other are from well-off families. This means that their parents are likely to be well educated. Family status can also play a part in children taking a liking for education or not. In this article, we will focus on the facts that support the argument that playing a musical instrument makes you smarter.
Musical training and blood flow to the brain: A study by the University of Liverpool found that musical training causes blood to flow to the brain’s left hemisphere in increased amounts. This is the language part of the brain. This suggests that music and language use the same pathways.
Music exercises the brain: Just like exercising makes a person fitter, playing any musical instrument exercises the brain and, therefore, keeps a person sharp. This is yet another reason to believe that playing musical instruments does make you smarter.
Spatial skills: Music boosts the brain’s spatial co-ordination. This comes handy when arranging items, solving puzzles or connecting pieces. Special reasoning and classical music share the same brain waves. While listening to music is also great, playing an instrument will enhance your spatial reasoning by up to 30%, depending on how long the lessons take.
Motor skills: This is mostly associated with learning how to read music. Children who were taught how to read music at a young age have been seen to have better motor and visual skills. These are benefits that even adult learners can take advantage of.
Practicing music teaches focus and discipline: As you play a musical instrument, you realize you have to keep all your focus on the music. Although it takes a bit of time and patience to master this, this is a skill that can have a big impact in other areas of your life.
Enhanced hand-eye coordination: Playing musical instruments makes you understand your body better. In fact a closer look at the working of the human body will tell you that it is an instrument of its own. It collaborates with musical instruments to come up with sounds.
Playing a musical instrument relaxes you and keeps stress away: Music is a form of communication that is nonverbal. Communication improves life in general. When you fully focus on the instrument you are playing, you keep out stressful thoughts. Since your body also releases endorphins, which promotes joy, your state of mind stays positive.
Playing a musical instrument teaches attention to detail: When you play a musical instrument, you learn to store and also retrieve memories in a quick fashion. Most of the time, during musical performances, you may be required to memorize multiple pieces. Remember when you memorized academic facts in form of a song? You never forgot any of them. While most activities stimulate a specific part of the brain, playing a musical instrument engages almost the entire brain. The net result is that your brain will stay young and sharp.