How 15 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Life

Picking up an instrument, according to many prestigious studies, can change your ability to function well.


Emma Harris

Playing instruments like the guitar can improve memory and problem solving skills.

Picking up an instrument for just fifteen minutes a day, whether it be the guitar or the trumpet, has been proven to substantially improve people’s math skills and problem solving abilities, along with alleviating some struggles of memorization. But that’s not it: athletes can benefit from this hobby, as well. That said, the amount of people who don’t play an instrument is alarming. Yes, some people just don’t have the time to add yet another thing to do in their life, but the benefits are so life-improving that making time could be worth it. 

Now maybe you already have a math brain, or maybe you’re like me and struggle to solve yx= 5y + 879yx – 0.01 by use of a quadratic equation. Either way, becoming better at math can be valuable, even if the only place you will ever use it is when applying to college. That said, studies show that people who play an instrument are instinctively better than those who don’t. Besides being another hobby, music can really improve your ability to function well in the math field. 

In fact, playing an instrument not only improves math solving skills, but playing one significantly boosts the brain’s ability to problem solve. Dr. Anitts Colins, an award-winning educator who works at the University of Canberra, explains this benefit: “Musicians also have higher levels of executive function — a category of interlinked tasks that includes planning, strategizing, and attention to detail, and requires simultaneous analysis of both cognitive and emotional aspects.” Problem solving is incredibly important for making it through the day. Without even knowing it, we work on and through many, many problems, from the time our day starts to when it ends. That’s why constantly improving problem solving skills is so essential to having a successful, happy life, which means playing an instrument is something to seriously consider.

I’m sure we all know the struggles of staying up late for a test, studying until you just can’t anymore, and getting a disappointingly low grade back. Maybe this happened to you in science, or maybe English was your downfall. Either way, the information just won’t stick. On the same Ted-ed explaining music’s correlation to problem solving skills, Dr. Colins explains how and why playing an instrument helps memorization. What is especially revolutionary is that playing an instrument can actually improve the brain’s ability to memorize more than any other activity can. And as someone who started to play guitar two years ago, I myself have noticed a big difference in remembering details, instructions, and uncompleted tasks. So, whether you’ve always wanted to tickle the keys or there’s a clarinet gathering dust in your closet, here’s the motivation to start: playing an instrument can drastically improve your ability to memorize and minimize the time it takes to do this. 

But here’s the thing: playing an instrument can actually help those in the athletic field. See, the clump of nerve fibers, scientifically called the corpus callosum, connecting the two sides of the brain is larger in musicians. This means a faster reaction time, better audio awareness, and improved spatial reasoning: all important things for a serious commitment to sports. 

Playing an instrument has many benefits for your brain and body, such as improved natural math skills, the ability to problem solve, memorize, and even play sports; it is the best hobby possible you can pick for your brain, and can open up opportunities you might not earn without playing. Does this mean you have to become the next Mozart? Absolutely not. However, playing for just fifteen minutes a day can change your life for the better.