How Piano Makes You Smarter? What Are the Scientific Evidence?

Posted by Aury Roll on

The piano is a complex music instrument that has a complex effect on the way the brain of the musician as well as the listener work. Several studies have been conducted to understand this relationship and a lot of the research support the idea that playing piano is more than just beneficial – it is rejuvenating for the brain in terms of improving IQ and cognitive skills.


We are going to quote two of the most significant studies conducted.

1. “The adaptability and the plasticity of the brain”

Christo Pantev, a neurobiologist at the Department of Neurology at the University of Munster, Germany, used state-of-the-art technologies in determining the capacity of the brain, its adaptability, and plasticity. He measured a series of activities in the cortex of the brain of young musicians and non-musicians.

Comparing the results from the two groups of subjects, it was found that regardless of the age of the musicians, there was an increased activity in the cortex of their brain, which alluded to the improved plasticity and adaptability.

In the words of Christo Pantev,

“It seems that the more young musicians start playing, the more important is the activity of the auditory region of the cortex.”

But this activity is not a product of a single account, instead, all of the “workouts and rehearsals of music lovers can also be responsible for the development of this brain region.”

It is also noteworthy that the research differentiated between the activities of the brain of the musicians when they heard simple and complex notes. Inevitably, the response to complex notes was higher than to the simpler ones.

All of this translates into one conclusion: This research clearly shows how playing the piano can improve the overall function of the cortex – the part of the brain responsible for cognitive behavior.

2. “The shape and the power of the brain”

Another study, although relatively conducted to see the influence of all the musical instrument, also shows how playing piano can make you “brainier”.

Conducted by Lutz Jancke, a psychologist at the University of Zurich, the study identifies a keen relationship between the improvement of the IQ, the shape and the function of the brain, and the playing of an instrument. This, in turn, acts as a buttress to the previous researches that conclude similar findings.

According to the researcher,

“Learning to play a musical instrument has definite benefits and can increase IQ by seven points, in both children and adults. We found that even in people over the age of 65 after four or five months of playing an instrument for an hour a week, there were strong changes in the brain. The parts of the brain that control hearing, memory, and the part that controls the hand among others, all become more active. Essentially, the architecture of the brain changes.”

Talking about the improvements in the brain of the children, he added,

“For children especially, we found that learning to play the piano, for instance, teaches them to be more self-disciplined, more attentive and better at planning. All of these things are very important for academic performance, so can, therefore, make a child brighter.”


As you can see, the research stated above clearly define a set of understanding of the way the activity of the brain improves, leading to smartness. But these are not the only studies, though. 

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