Does playing music make you smarter?
New research shows that music lessons can increase your intelligence. Having lessons for a year will permanently improve your brain development, motor skills, and combines left and right thinking.
These findings have been made in the field of music neuroscience. North Western University has a department dedicated to this research and Nina Kraus is the lead neuroscientist. She explains in the video below how the brain processes sound.
In 1993, a study of college students listened to Mozart and then got higher marks in a test. This led people to believe that listening to Mozart temporarily increases IQ. Ani Patel, author of “Music, Language, and the Brain” argues that playing an instrument is what has an affect on your mind. This includes speech perception and being able to multi-task.
Patel believes music can be very beneficial for young children: “If we know how and why music changes the brain…this could have a real impact on the value we put on it as an activity in the schools, not to mention all the impact it has on emotional development, emotional maturity, social skills…hugely important for a child’s future success”.
There is a growing movement in America where some schools ensure every student receives music instruction. One Head said that “since we started implementing our music program…our test scores have increased dramatically.”
Patel believes music has an overlap with other areas of the brain. For example, tuning an instrument also develops speech processing because of the precision needed. Patel uses the term brain plasticity: changes in the brain’s structure by experiences that use emotion, repetition, and attention. Playing music is ideal because it is demanding and uses shared networks (e.g. instrument tuning/speech processing) and will develop these linked abilities.
The proven effect of music means it is now being introduced in therapy. Singing is used to rehabilitate victims of stroke and other brain injuries, as well as those with severe autism.