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How Playing an Instrument Makes You Smarter

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

I often tell my students “I’m not teaching you piano as much as I am training your brain!“ Most of my students laugh, not realizing that I am being very serious with them! When you think about what a pianist does versus what a normal human does in regards to hand movement, the only thing that truly compares is the delicate work of the surgeon.


If you think about what a pianist does, we can play up to 12 notes at once, we use our feet in concert with our hands to sustain tone at specific times within music, using technique. As a pianist we have to learn to balance our hands, we have to learn to phrase the tones, we have to bring in dynamics to help tell the story, we must be emotive and provide the drama in telling our voiceless story. Did you know that simply listening to music causes your brain to fire neurons across both hemispheres? Just listening to music creates an amazing neural response. When a musician picks up an instrument, that neural response increases exponentially. This is due to an increase in the corpus callosum located between both hemispheres of the brain. When we connect left and right hemisphere, we create a more complete human as far as linking logic and creativity. The result is quite simple, instead of having another team player, you have a developing leader.

When learning the discipline of personal best, you realize quickly that success or failure ultimately falls on the participants shoulders solely, especially in a performance setting.

When learning the discipline of personal best, you realize quickly that success or failure ultimately falls on the participants shoulders solely, especially in a performance setting. Being able to improvise on the spot can save a song from disaster; and being able to improvise in life can be a crucial benefit.


There is a wonderful Ted talk on how music affects the brain, and it goes into great detail of how it is scientifically measured! If you have the opportunity, if you have time, check out their video on our home page!.


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