The Benefits of Playing a Musical Instrument

A Caucasian man playing a flute with text "Music for the Body and the Soul"

Recent studies find that learning a musical instrument can be one of the best workouts for our mind and cognition. In addition, research shows that it can also benefit us physically as we age and of course we all know that music is good for the soul.

A study from Northwestern University reveals that musicians age 45 to 65 have better memory and hearing than non-musicians of the same age. The authors believe that music training “fine tunes” the nervous system and helps musicians sharpen their cognitive skills.1

A five-year study that involved music experts from universities across the country, known as the Music Making and Wellness Project, shows that the level of human growth hormone (HGH) increased 90% in participants taking keyboard lessons. HGH usually decreases as we age. However, it is essential to slowing many aging conditions such as osteoporosis and loss of muscle mass.2

Several studies document the fact that listening to music or playing an instrument relaxes the mind and body, as well as reduces anxiety and depression. One specific study finds that playing a musical instrument reduces stress more than other traditional relaxing techniques such as reading.3

It’s never too late to learn something new…including how to play a musical instrument. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you.


  1. Clark A, Anderson S, Hittner E, Kraus N. Musical experience offsets age-related delays in neural timing. Neurobiology of Aging, 2012; 33 (7): 1483.e1–1483.e4.
  2. Koga M, Tims F. The Music Making and Wellness Project. American Music Teacher, 2005; 55 (2): 40.
  3. Bittman B, Berk L, Felten D, et al. Composite effects of group drumming music therapy on modulation of neuroendocrine-immune parameters in normal subjects. Alternative Therapies, 2001; 7 (1): 38-47.
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