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  • Dr. Guy Whatley

Does Learning Piano Make You Smarter?

We have all seen news stories about “The Mozart Effect” and other ideas that suggest that making music, or even exposure to music can help with brain development and cognition. But is any of this actually true?



A study from Concordia University, published in 2013 in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that musical training before the age of seven has a significant effect on the development of the brain. It shows that students who start early have stronger connections between motor regions -- the parts of the brain that help you plan and carry out movements.


This study shows that for young people there are significant developments. Learning an instruments requires a great deal of coordination between the brain and the hands, and this study shows that practicing your instrument at a young age boosts maturation of the motor and sensory regions of the brain.

But what about adults? Can they benefit from music lessons?


A study from the University of South Florida studied the impact of individual piano instruction on adults between the ages of 60 and 85. After six months, those who had received piano lessons showed robust gains in memory, verbal fluency, the speed at which they processed information, planning ability, and other cognitive functions, compared with those who had not received lessons.


It is never too late to start learning piano. There are so many advantages to learning piano. Not only will you get the immense satisfaction and joy of learning to play a musical instrument, but your brain will thank you for it as well!