• University of Padova

Music and Intelligence: Can Music Make You Smarter?

Examine the relationship between music and intelligence, debunking common myths, and exploring amazing facts.

1,736 enrolled on this course

Colorful human brain with music notes and instruments

Music and Intelligence: Can Music Make You Smarter?

1,736 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

Explore how music affects human psychology

It’s long been thought that music has the power to affect cognition – but can music really improve intelligence?

On this course, you’ll explore the truth behind the connection between music and intelligence, learning whether music treatment (such as music training or music-related activity) can actually improve cognition.

Get to grips with the key principles of intelligence

In order to truly understand how music relates to intelligence, it’s important to get to grips with what we mean by intelligence and how it is measured and impacted.

You’ll be introduced to the fundamentals of human intelligence, examining its complexity and delving into the things that can change it.

You’ll separate facts from myth as you evaluate ideas on the benefits of music playing to our cognition and learn how to differentiate between false claims and evidence-based facts.

Explore the psychology of music and if music makes you smarter

Alongside expert psychology educators, you’ll explore concepts and ideas which highlight the connection between music and intelligence, including examining the famous ‘Mozart effect’ under the microscope.

The final section of the course is dedicated to the idea that we can improve our intelligence by listening to music.

You’ll explore if and how music affects learning, and whether playing an instrument can make you smarter, coming away able to conclusively answer if music affects learning or not.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Hi I’m Massimo, and today I’m going to talk to you about music and intelligence. For years, babies have been listening to the music of Mozart even while they were still swimming inside their mothers’ wombs. Even cows were listening to the music of Mozart, with the idea that the music of Mozart could increase their milk production. But also plants were exposed to the music of Mozart with the idea that they could grow faster and healthier. So does more Mozart or more classical music means more intelligent kids, more milk, faster growing plants, and in general, is music listening making you smarter? Unfortunately, the answer is no. We are dealing with one

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 seconds of the myths of psychology: the Mozart effect. In this course, we will go through a series of studies that investigated that original result. But plus, we will investigate

Skip to 1 minute and 7 seconds another very important question: Is music playing making you smarter? So, if listening to Mozart can’t, what about learning to play a musical instrument? What about the old classical music education? Scientists around the world have been trying to understand whether learning to play a musical instrument or becoming a musician might be beneficial for your mind or might even increase your intelligence. To answer this question, we’ll look at the scientific studies that compare the cognitive abilities and intelligence of musicians and non-musicians. We will eventually understand why receiving a music training might be related to intelligence. But before starting to play or listen to any music, we first need to know some real scientific facts about intelligence.

Skip to 1 minute and 53 seconds What is it, how is it made, how can it be measured? Only then can we start facing the music.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds Join me in the course “Music and intelligence: Can music make you smarter?” And let’s find out together.


  • Week 1

    What is intelligence?

    • Introduction to the course

      What will you be learning throughout these four weeks and why are these lessons important?

    • What is intelligence: definition

      What is intelligence? Let's unfold this complexity

    • The first attempts at studying intelligence

      Intelligence is something that matters for individuals as well as for society. Intelligence tests (or attempts to measure intelligence) have a long history in screening the cognitive abilities of adults and children.

    • How we measure intelligence: the intelligence tests

      Because intelligence is complex and multifaceted, the instruments to measure intelligence reflect this multifaceted complexity. We will go through the various parts that compose a modern intelligence test.

    • How we think intelligence is made: the architecture of intelligence

      Is there one single, unique intelligence or several intelligences?

    • Synthesis

      Wrap up the week with feedback from you and a synthesis

  • Week 2

    Can listening to music improve your intelligence?

    • The myth of the Mozart effect

      Can listening to the music by Mozart boost your intelligence? Learn about the single scientific paper that observed this original finding, one of the contemporary myths of psychology.

    • Investigating the Mozart Effect

      How did the Mozart effect occur? We will investigate and explain the various (often failed) attempts to replicate the Mozart effect.

    • Synthesis

      Wrap up the week with feedback from you and a synthesis

  • Week 3

    Can playing music improve your intelligence?

    • The relationship between music and intelligence

      Why do families spend so much money to provide music lessons to their children? Let’s explore the relationship between music and intelligence.

    • Getting the facts straight

      One simple attempt to understand whether practicing music makes you smarter is through quasi experimental research that compares how smart musicians are in comparison to non musicians.

    • Experimental studies that explore the effect of music training

      Scientists have been attempting to see whether providing music training to people who don’t play music could boost their intellectual abilities.

    • Synthesis

      Wrap up the week with feedback from you and a synthesis

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe what intelligence is, the complexity behind it, how it is measured, and the factors that change it.
  • Explain the relationship between music and intelligence.
  • Investigate information on cognition to differentiate between claims that are too good to be true and those that might be substantial and evidence-based.
  • Apply what they have learned to research studies that investigate whether a treatment of any kind (e.g. a short music training or music-related activity) may improve one’s cognition.

Who is the course for?

This course would benefit musicians, music therapists, educators, and music and psychology students. There is no need for a specific background, as it is easy to follow for those interested and curious in music.

Who will you learn with?

Massimo Grassi, head of the Experimental Psychology division of the
Italian Association of Psychology. He published more than fifty papers
on auditory perception, cognition and their relationship.

Who developed the course?

University of Padova

The University of Padova is one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious seats of learning; it aims to provide its students with both professional training and a solid cultural background.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 5 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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