There is a widely held belief that a person’s IQ is a fixed thing, which means you take a test, you are informed on how smart you are and that is it, you have to live with it for the rest of your life.
Neuroscience is however disputing that belief and demonstrating the fluidity of brain functions.
One way it is doing that is seen from research out of the University of Zurich which is showing how doing one simple thing can increase your IQ. The key to increase your IQ is also not limited to children who generally have more pliable brains than adults; the key works for both adults and children.
The key to increasing one’s IQ according to the research is learning to play a musical instrument. Playing music was shown to improve brain functioning and increase your IQ by seven or more points. Psychologist Lutz Jäncke states;
“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.”
He likens it to the architecture of the brain changing, listing; memory, hearing, and motor function centers (specifically related to the hands) as parts of the brain that became more active.
So intelligence is not fixed and the power to change your brain for the better is in your hand and this research has shown playing an instrument as a viable route to do just that.
Three advantages of learning to play an instrument are
It’s ability to conserve gray matter
Harvard neurologist Gottfried Schlaug showed that the brains of musicians have more gray matter than those who don’t play an instrument. Gray matter on its end helps to preserve the structural integrity of the brain, especially as it pertains to executive functioning (self-control and decision making).
It also helps preserve; memory, emotion, speech, muscle control, seeing and hearing.
It’s ability to reduce stress
Playing music tends to elicit a relaxing effect on both the body and the brain as attention becomes focused on one single, right-brained activity. It will likewise release dopamine in the brain, the same chemical released during sex, drug use, and eating delicious food.
It’s ability to improve language abilities
When you play an instrument, you improve your ability to “keep the beat,” which facilitates your capacity to process auditory information.