Can learning a musical instrument raise your I.Q.?

Playing musical instruments is not only fun; it is also a great brain exercise. Learning how to play them definitely does have an effect on your I.Q. In fact, one research showed the activity raised general I.Q. by an average of 7 points. When individuals play a musical instrument day in and day out to learn it, they are improving their hearing and memory skills in the process. This, in turn, has a positive effect on their emotional perception, alertness and attentiveness, and planning skills.

Music uplifts not only the mood but also mental abilities like spatial-temporal intelligence. Also known as visuospatial reasoning, this area of intelligence is useful for complex problem-solving, such as in mathematics and chess. One study revealed that preschoolers who played the keyboard performed better on spatial-temporal tests. It was found that the kids stayed mentally sharp even when their keyboard lessons concluded. Students who are musical instrument learners also benefit from improved grades and generally excel in spelling.

Learning the keyboard also increases cognitive abilities. It helps boost reading and comprehension, which are tied to the rapid auditory process for sensory development. By learning a musical instrument, you are practically training your brain to comprehend sounds quickly, and your eyes and ears to get accurate information. Music also helps improve spelling aptitude, even if there are no words involved in the process of learning it.

The sharpness of your memory depends on the connectivity of your neurons.  And because constant practice improves neuron connectivity, constantly practicing to learn how to play a musical instrument also enhances memory–making it particularly ideal during college exams. Added stimuli (in this case musical sounds) can also trigger the neurons near the section of the brain that is responsible for our memory. The more neurons are triggered, the faster the retrieval of information.

Case studies reveal that even the elderly benefit from playing musical instruments. The effect of this hobby on seniors transcend entertainment. Because this activity helps retain the brain’s grey matter and enhances connectivity of the neurons, it sharpens their memory. Memorizing musical sheets and working on timing and rhythm promote strong coordination and concentration. Apart from their cognitive skills, their motor skills are also enhanced.

That said, however, it is widely accepted that the earlier you start practicing a musical instrument, the more pronounced the cognitive improvement. Learning music and musical instruments not only cultivates talent and makes people smarter; it promotes positive discipline that is critical for overall student success.

Albert Einstein may be the perfect example of an individual whose love for music and skill in playing musical instrument impacted his mental capacity. He started learning the piano and the violin at a young age with his mother, a musician, as his teacher. Records show that the Nobel Laureate for Physics would play a chord or song skillfully on his keyboard, suddenly stop, and scribble away at his notes. It turned out that playing the musical instrument would sometimes uncover his genius.