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  • Rita Hitching

#TeenBrainHackMusic Musical instrument players are better at math


Are you wanting to improve your math grade? Looking for some pro tips? I'm not about to recommend a tutor, or summer school.  The latest research indicates that teens that play a musical instrument regularly, are on average at least a year ahead in math, outperform in science and English compared to their non-musical peers.   The brain benefits from music playing as it integrates all parts of the brain, and increases connections between brain regions improving your cognitive skills, and executive function. The relationship is predictive with the greater amount of music played leading to the highest levels of academic excellence.  The effect is stronger for those playing a musical rather than vocal music. In addition the experience of persevering as you learn an instrument or a piece of music, and self-motivation are traits you take to other aspects of school work. 


Music instrument players are at least a year ahead in math.

Top 8 Reasons to play an instrument:

  1. Enriches connections between the left and right brain via the corpus callosum - fibers connecting 2 hemispheres

  2. Increases overall brain function - more white matter in the brain leading to academic success.

  3. Superior speech processing - brain is better at processing vowels and consonants, and learn to read sooner, and problem solve.

  4. Music processing facilitate emotional development - feeling the music makes you more empathic to the feelings of others.

  5. Music can be interpreted in a mathematical way - explaining why music players are better at math and science - Einstein played the violin.

  6. Playing an instrument increase fine motor skills leading to greater neural connections.

  7. Music makes you happy. Playing an instrument reduces the likelihood of depression, aggression and helps with emotional regulation.

  8. Makes you feel great. Knowing that you have a skill is wonderful for self-esteem.



Read the original research: “A population-level analysis of associations between school music participation and academic achievement”. Martin Guhn, Scott D. Emerson, Peter Gouzouasis. Journal of Educational Psychology. Jun 24 , 2019