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Play an Instrument

Play an Instrument

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Playing an instrument will give you many benefits besides entertainment. It is a powerful habit that can strengthen your cognitive skills and creativity.

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Possible Benefits

  • May improve your creativity 
  • May enhance your cognitive function
  • May boost your mood
  • May decrease anxiety 
  • May decrease stress 
  • Promotes flexible thinking 
  • May boost your motivation 
  • May increase your confidence
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Required Equipment

The instrument you prefer (e.g., guitar, piano, violin, flute, drums, etc.)

Tuner (if you have a stringed instrument)


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How to Do It

If it will be your first time playing the instrument, you can take some classes or follow online tutorials. The goal is for you to start developing the skill and be able to practice on your own. 

If you already have some skill, all you have to do is practice. You don't have to be a professional to benefit from this habit.

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Why it works

  • It stimulates a group of cognitive functions called Executive Function (EF). It is in charge of planning, decision making, and creative thinking. 
  • In one study, playing an instrument was found to prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. 
  • Listening to music is associated with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
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Time Commitment

20-60 minutes

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Suggested Frequency

Once per week

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Time of Day


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Possible Side Effects

In some cases skin discomfort, cramps, dry mouth, muscle discomfort.

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  • You can join a club or amateur band
  • Make sure you choose the instrument that catches your attention, so you don't lose motivation 
  • Practice regularly to increase your ability and enhance the benefits
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Supporting Studies and Articles

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  1. Music Lessons. https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/16/03/music-lessons#.X_ixOLJ1WGI.twitter 
  2. Playing a Musical Instrument as a Protective Factor against Dementia and Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Twin Study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4269311/ 
  3. Art and science: how musical training shapes the brain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3797461/ 
  4. A Prescription for Music Lessons. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6368928/ 
  5. Music-Evoked Emotions—Current Studies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5705548/ 
  6. Lifetime benefits of musical training. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4010741/
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 Happiness  Confidence  Stress  Productivity  Focus  Creativity  Memory  Sharpness  Motivation
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