Does Playing Guitar Increase Your IQ?

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Did you know that research reveals that playing a musical instrument increases intelligence by 10 percent? A six-month study coordinated by, the world’s largest DIY community, was done on 4,694 volunteers. They were asked to select a new hobby to take up during 2020 pandemic lockdown. The choices of hobbies were knitting, exercising and learning an instrument.

Before the study started, the volunteers took an IQ test, grouping them according to their chosen activity. Six months later, they were retested, and researchers indexed and averaged their scores on IQ. According to this study, the guitar was the most popular music instrument, with 31 percent of volunteers choosing to learn it.

The individuals who had the highest IQ increase were the music-makers who had an average score increase of 9.71 percent. Before taking up an instrument, the average IQ score was 103. After they were tested again six months later, it had increased to 113.

While many people might be skeptical of these findings, further research has since confirmed that learning how to play a musical instrument does indeed have benefits for cognitive development. So, if you’ve been thinking about picking up a guitar for yourself, here are the reasons why the guitar increases your IQ.

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Does Playing Guitar Increase Your IQ?
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Intelligence and Music

The last few decades have seen neuro-scientists make breakthroughs in unlocking the mysteries of the brain. With devices like FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and PTI (Positron Emission Tomography) scanners, some great revelations have been unearthed as follows:

Guitar Players Are Multi Skilled

When you play guitar, activities increase in the Corpus Callosum, which is this part of the brain that links your rational left brain with your creative right brain. This shows that guitarists aren’t just right-brained, creative types. We use our creative right brain and the thinking left brain simultaneously. Therefore, if you learn the guitar, it rewires your brain over time, and you have faster access to the thinking left brain area. Additionally, your guitar playing isn’t the only skill that gets better.

Other cognitive functions improve like:

  • Problem-solving
  • Intuition
  • Motor coordination
  • Memory

When the connections between the left and right brain increase, the level of intelligence goes us because the music player uses 2 hemispheres instead of one dominant one.

Guitar Players Can Mind Control

Imagine that you’re midway through an awesome band rehearsal. You have a guitar slung around your neck. You have closed your eyes as you’re ripping out an amazing solo. Without a thought, you pluck some good open chords. Your bassist, drummer, and rhythm guitarist all instinctively follow your tune and you all play in sync. If you have experienced this or are working towards improving your playing ability so you can pull such an amazing synchrony, it will happen because of your sharp guitar player brain.

Here is why:
A study was carried out on the neuroscience improvisation fMRI brain scans of 2 guitar players playing the instrument. The scans revealed that the guitarists could switch to the creative left area of the brain and deactivate the rational right area. This means that any skilled, well-practiced guitar player is capable of mind control. Also, improvising skills and other techniques a guitar player improves the more you learn to play guitar.

Stanford University Study

A study was done by Stanford University School of Medicine conducted by looking at a sample of 153 musicians and non-musicians. The study revealed significant differences in the brain structure of individuals who learned to play a musical instrument early in life and then continued training.

Additionally, children who started learning an instrument have stronger brain connections than those who took up an instrument later in life. The researcher, Dr. Simon Leipold, revealed that the impact on the brain was even greater the longer they trained.

The bottom line is that learning a musical instrument like the guitar positively impacts IQ and academic performance. Music education builds intelligence and improves grades, positively impacting your child’s mental and emotional health.

Guitar Players Can Mind Read

The following scientific insight into the special nature of a guitarist’s brain is a gem.

In scientific research by Max Planck Institute for Human Development, 12 guitarists volunteered to take EEG scans while playing together. The findings were astonishing:

“Within-brain phase locking as well as within-brain and between-brain phase-coherence connection strengths were enhanced at frontal and central electrodes during periods that put particularly high demands on musical coordination.”

In simple English: These two guitar players’ brains synched together as they played and right before they played.

Guitar players have the IQ to know the upcoming from a fellow guitar player by reading each other’s minds. Additionally, the stronger the relationship between the musicians, the stronger the brain connection.

Does Playing Guitar Increase Your IQ?

​Guitar Players May Learn Differently

Guitarists have been proven to learn songs differently than other musicians, which signifies a higher IQ. Just how differently? A study by Vanderbilt University Psychologist Gordon Logan set out to answer that question. The test was done by Logan, Jerry Kimbrough, a musician from Nashville, and Matthew Crimp, a professor of psychology.

From the findings, guitarists came out better at learning using listening and observation skills.

As Logan stated: “The fact is that guitar players don’t read music too often which frees up their eyes so they can look at their hands. Compared to when you play piano or violin, you are trained not to look at your hands.”

The conclusion from this study proves that guitarists have better listening and observation skills than other musicians. Guitar players often learn to play by ear instead of reading music. This was one of the key differentiating factors in the study findings.


So, does playing guitar increase your IQ? The answer is yes, it can! Try playing the guitar for yourself and see how you feel after a few months of practice. To assist you to get started on your journey to becoming a musical genius, we have free access to some of the best guitar tabs around. Click here to start learning today!

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