Will Playing a Musical Instrument Enhance Memory?

Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here!

J.K.Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 1997

I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love music. Listening to it brings a lot of happiness to people — and a host of other advantages. For the purposes of this blog, let’s go beyond listening to playing and let’s consider this question, “Will playing a musical instrument enhance memory?” Here is an excerpt from an article on the benefits of playing a musical instrument.

Will Playing a Musical Instrument Enhance Memory?

1.  Increases the capacity of your memory.
Research has shown that both listening to music and playing a musical instrument stimulate your brain and can increase your memory.  A study was done in which 22 children from age 3 to 4 and a half years old were given either singing lessons or keyboard lessons.  A control group of 15 children received no music lessons at all. Both groups participated in the same preschool activities.  The results showed that preschoolers who had weekly keyboard lessons improved their spatial-temporal skills 34 percent more than the other children.  Not only that, but researchers said that the effect lasted long-term.  (Source:  http://brainconnection.positscience.com/topics/?main=fa/music-education2#A1)

According to an article from The Telegraph online magazine, “New research suggests that regularly playing an instrument changes the shape and power of the brain and may be used in therapy to improve cognitive skills.”  There is continually more evidence that musicians have organizationally and functionally different brains compared to non-musicians, especially in the areas of the brain used in processing and playing music.  If you learn how to play an instrument, the parts of your brain that control motor skills (ex: using your hands, running, swimming, balancing, etc.), hearing, storing audio information, and memory actually grow and become more active.  Other results show that playing an instrument can help your IQ increase by seven points.   (Source:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/6447588/Playing-a-musical-instrument-makes-you-brainier.html)

Read about other benefits here.

Will playing a musical instrument enhance memory?

Will playing a musical instrument enhance memory?

It appears that learning to play a musical instrument is advantageous not only to children but to every age group. Many of the benefits described in the article such as concentration, focus, coordination, listening skills, and stress relief work hand-in-hand with improving memory.

Will playing a musical instrument enhance memory? Tell us what your experience has been.



  1. Tamir says:

    I’ve came across this article because recently i’ve been playing the guitar and i couldn’t have not noticed that I started remembering numbers better and daily tasks kept popping at the right time which didn’t happen usually ( i had to put memos). I instantly connected it to playing guitar and i’ve been playing for merely 2 months !
    So yeah, this is quite amazing, i suppose it’s true and it does help with memory.

    • john says:

      My name is John and I am 59 year old male.
      Recently I have noticed that it is easier to remember numbers and my typing skills have also improved. This seemed very odd to me. Why was this happening? Then it occurred to me that recently my daughter had bought me a guitar and I had been practicing for around 15 minutes a day. Could it be that playing the guitar was enhancing other cognitive skills? So I looked it up and found this blog thread. When I saw this research article and your post, I had to respond. Thanks for your post.
      John, Los Angeles.

      • Ida Shessel says:

        Hi John,
        Thanks for your post. Happy to hear you’ve had a number of improvements! It would be interesting to track what additional cognitive skills are improving over time. Keep playing that guitar! – Best regards, Ida

  2. Samuel T. Cummins says:

    I agree with you, Music definitely has a ton of health benefits., The greatest brain benefits of music happen when you actually learn a musical instrument. By doing so you are exercising the left, right, front, and back portions on the brain and when the entire brain is being utilized learning increases.

  3. Nicky says:

    Yes… same with me. I have been playing the violin for two years now, since I was eight. Now I am in level seven RCM and I have noticed drastic changes in my memory. Before, I couldn’t even remember what homework I had from school and I had to check my agenda twice. Many other things improved as well.

  4. Stephanie Su says:

    There are many benefits of playing musical instrument, and I also believe that playing musical instruments helps us to be calm, positive and happy :)

  5. Sam says:

    Thanks for such an informative article. Even I agree to music learning help in enhancing memory. It help you in relaxing your mind, making you happy and joyful.

  6. Meriam Amy says:

    I am very curious how a person with advance dementia is still able to play the piano, sing songs that are familiar to them.


  1. […] Playing music can increase spacial-temporal skills, and has been proven to work in young children and have lasting effects on memory. Even listening to music, like classical, can help people with memory, which is why music therapy is used in the medical field for people with numerous illnesses, including Alzheimer’s. […]

  2. […] One study of 15 children who had never had music lessons were able to increase their memory functions by as much as 34%, all by trying to learn an instrument! […]

  3. […] One study of 15 children who had never had music lessons were able to increase their memory functions by as much as 34%, all by trying to learn an instrument! […]

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