A study indicates that learning a musical instrument increases your IQ by 10%

January 27, 2021, 1:37 p.m. | Updated: January 28, 2021, 3:58 PM

Learning a musical instrument increases IQ by 10%, according to a study.

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Picking up a musical instrument gives you a higher IQ, according to a new study of more than 4,600 volunteers.

New research has claimed that learning to play a musical instrument increases intelligence by 10%.

In a six-month study coordinated by DIYS.com, the world’s largest DIY community, 4,694 volunteers chose a new hobby to take up during the coronavirus lockdown. Among the hobbies chosen were knitting, exercising, and learning an instrument.

The volunteers then took an IQ test, before being grouped according to the chosen activity. After six months, they were retested and the researchers indexed and averaged their scores.

The biggest increase in IQ came from music creators, with an average increase of 9.71%.

Before taking up an instrument, the average IQ of new musicians was 103. When they were tested again, six months later, it had risen to 113.

Read more: Musicians who train from an early age have more “connected” brains, study finds >

Scores on IQ tests, which are used to measure various cognitive reasoning abilities, average around 100 in general.

Music took precedence over other hobbies, including knitting, which saw an average increase of 9.68%, exercise (7.37%) and reading (7.07%).

According to the study, the most popular instrument was the guitar, with 31% of volunteers choosing to learn it.

Read more: Can we guess your IQ, based on your taste in music? >

The cognitive impact of playing an instrument has been widely studied. A 2014 Talking about Ted presented by brain development and music learning researcher Dr Anita Collins, which has been viewed over 10 million times, explains why ‘fireworks’ go off in the brains of musicians when they are playing.

Collins explains that when a musician plays an instrument, neuroscientists have seen multiple areas of the brain “light up” as it processes different information in “complex, interrelated, and surprisingly fast sequences.”

“Playing music is the brain’s equivalent of a full-body workout,” adds Collins.

Read more: Jazz and Classical Musicians’ Brains Work Differently, Study Reveals >

Read more: Study finds Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is the most popular music for falling asleep >

A more recent study, conducted by experts at Stanford University School of Medicine, found that musicians who started playing an instrument at a young age have more “connected” brains.

Using a sample of 153 musicians and non-musicians, the researchers found a significant difference in the brain structure of the musicians.

More so, the team found that those who started gambling at a young age had stronger brain connections than those who didn’t start until later.

We have opened the vote for the Classic FM Hall of Fame 2021! Tell us your favorite music and you could win a smart speaker, an iPad and a luxury basket.

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