Ask McFartnuggets: “Can Playing a Musical Instrument Make You Smarter?”

Dear McFartnuggets: 
I keep hearing that playing a musical instrument can make you smarter, but does that apply to any musical instrument? Could I get just as smart from playing the tuba or kazoo as I could from playing a piano or violin? -- Polly from New Haven, Connecticut

Dear Polly:
Researchers have found that people’s brains get a lot of exercise when they’re playing an instrument. Playing music has been shown to activate nearly every part of the brain including the parts responsible for motor skills, math, and language. When these parts of the brain are activated they become stronger over time. That being said, a kazoo probably doesn’t activate the same areas of the brain as vigorously as a piano or viola. Certain things probably shouldn’t even be called instruments. The maracas and triangle are technically instruments, but the positive effects of jamming out on them are likely very minimal compared to say a saxophone or accordion. Anything you can be considered a “virtuoso” of would likely enhance your brain. It’s very difficult to be a triangle virtuoso.

Wait til you see Stephen Hawking on one of these bad boys!

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