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  • Zoe Lim

Will Playing the Piano Raise Your Intelligence?

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

a girl practicing piano notes and sightreading

There has been numerous studies which show that playing an instrument can make someone smarter. Is this true? Let's dive deeper into these research and findings.

The phrase "The Mozart Effect" has been a popular term used to draw the strong correlation between music and brain development in research journals. Specifically, it refers to the claim that listening to Mozart's music can increase your general intelligence. This study was conducted in 1993 when scientists found that 36 college students who listened to 10 minutes of a Mozart sonata performed higher on a subsequent spatial-temporal task than after they listened to relaxation instructions or silence. However, it is too huge of a generalisation to conclude with "Mozart makes you smarter".

It was later found that this effect only lasts for a few minutes. So the question is, is it still worth it to invest your children in music education? The answer is, yes! Absolutely!

Numerous research studies have proved that studying music, do in fact, contribute to a positive development in intelligence and cognitive benefits. There was further research done in 1994 where preschoolers demonstrated a 46% boost in spatial reasoning IQ after just 8 months of keyboard lessons. It means that they understand mathematical reasoning better and faster than one who did not undergo such training.

Music education also promotes growth of the corpus callosum, a C-shaped nerve fiber bundle found beneath the cerebral cortex. It was found that among musicians who started their training before the age of seven, the corpus callosum is 10-15% thicker than in non-musicians. In fact, a larger corpus callosum can improve motor control by speeding up communication between the brain hemispheres. This is especially important for musicians as it improves skilled movements such as finger coordinations.

Further experiments have shown that musical training improves certain hearing capabilities, like filtering voices from background noise or distinguishing the difference between the consonants ‘b’ and ‘g’. This could be essential for your child's speech development, especially if they are learning two languages at once.

Other benefits to learning music are increasing concentration, higher order thinking skills, creativity, logic and so on. The list is long when it comes to advantages of playing the piano. With low-risk and high reward, there is nothing to lose for you or your child to start learning an instrument now!


Zoe is an avid fan of all kinds of music. Her primary instrument is the guitar but she is always passionately learning how to play other instruments such as the drums and keyboard. She is currently playing the bass guitar in a band and has been routinely involved in music since she was a child.

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