Research has already shown us that listening to music fires up numerous parts of the brain all at once. More recent studies however have proven that in comparison to when you listen, there is an explosion of brain activity that occurs when you play an instrument! We’re going to explore a few of the ways music effects our brains and might actually make us smarter!

Where In Our Heads?

To begin with, playing a musical instrument increases activity in the visual, auditory and motor-sensory cortices of the brain. These the parts of the brain associated with sight, hearing, movement and feeling respectively. Apart from this, playing an instrument makes use of the frontal lobe when planning and use of memory centers when memorizing arrangements and compositions while playing! There are other parts of the brain that are used and exercised when playing music as well and we’re going to delve into this a little more while telling you exactly how playing music might help make you smarter!

Exercises both sides

As science presently suggests, the left brain hemisphere is associated with logic, systematic thinking, mathematics, language etc. The right hemisphere is associated with imagination, intuition and rhythm to name a few.

Studies show that playing an instrument makes use of both left and right hemispheres of the brain as it involves intuition, creativity and emotion but also a degree of fine motor coordination, planning and sequencing. It also helps develop the brains corpus colosum which is the area connecting both hemispheres and responsible for coordination between the two!

How this helps

People who play music may be able to solve various problems in a more innovative and competent way. They possess improved function with tasks associated with both sides of the brain and since coordination between the two lobes is improved it benefits them both academically and socially!

Hemisphere Improvement

Left Hemisphere Improvement

Understanding music and learning how to compose and arrange different notes and chords makes use of the brains mathematical abilities. Reading music also draws on language centers as does coming up with lyrics or singing if that is part of the process.

How this helps

This means playing music improves our mathematic and linguistic abilities greatly. Some studies even suggest that playing an instrument literally raises our I.Q. by a few points!

Right Hemisphere Improvement

Making music requires a fair bit of soul and emotion and if it lacks that you can feel it! People, who play instruments (well), go deep within connecting feelings to action which then becomes sound. Composing a new piece and creativity are all exercised when playing music.

How this helps

Besides becoming more connected and possibly improving your E.Q., music allows us to approach various obstacles and challenges, including those that are academic in a far more creative fashion.

Executive Function

Executive Function

Simply put, executive functions are processes that allow us to take in information, make sense of it then proceed to use said information in combination with our already present skills to make better smarter choices and decisions. Since while playing a musical instrument, you’re already doing all of this to a degree, your executive function skills improve greatly.

How this helps

Without exaggeration, this pretty much improves your life because there is nothing in the way of decisions and the choices we make that do not involve executive function.

Bits and bobs

Without going into too much detail, music also helps us learn to multitask and research has shown that musicians and people who play music actually have better long term memory. Being able to play music improves your brain in every way, and can even alter its structure helping it form new and stronger neural links and connections as well as thickens gray matter! Whether it is instrument playing or music composition, it is sure to get those light bulbs in our heads shining!


It’s okay if you don’t see yourself as a child prodigy or someone musically blessed. It really doesn’t matter. Like any other skill, you can learn to play and instrument and get better at it through persistence and continued practice. Some software facilitates the process of making music. In today’s day and age with all the electronic backing and music notation and composing software available today, playing an instrument can be a rewarding activity that ends up in you actually being smarter!

Music Jotter is easy to use music notation software that allows you to create, analyze, sample and play back music via realistic playback or semi-real time recording. For more information, sign up for a quick demo today.