Research just published by Dr Dawn Rose at Herts University points to new ways that learning an instrument benefits children: it improves their 'fluid intelligence' and emotional wellbeing - and much more.
But it's not just kids who benefit. Last September I picked up my flute for the first time in 30 years (I dropped it because I didn't have time to practice with three kids) and joined a class playing traditional folk tunes.
We're encouraged to play by ear, which is a steep learning curve if you're used to relying on written music. But it's so worth it. When I've stopped banging my head against the wall in sheer frustration I can almost feel my brain synapses connecting - or whatever it is synapses do.
Afterwards my brain feels as if it's had a complete physical work out: exhausted but flexing new muscles. And it doesn't stop there. Between classes I feel the benefits in so many other areas of my life: there's a new energy, a new clarity. Beats Sudoku any day.