4 Reasons Rock Music Makes You Smarter

In the world of science, the brain and its relationship with music are an ongoing study. There is not a doubt that studying music shows you are smart, but what about listening to music such as rock? Science shows that there are XX reasons rock music makes you smarter.

The four reasons rock music makes you smarter is because it helps your body release endorphins, helps with a cognitive ability such as memory function, creates new neural pathways in the brain, and learns a new language phonetically.

Classical music influenced what we know as rock music today. Notably, many of our great rock musicians and bands of today claim that composers from that era like Bach and Vivaldi influenced their works. Music is not solely for the ear and the soul. It’s made for the brain and causes a great sense of well-being among listeners and musicians alike.

How Does The Brain Process Rock Music?

The brain loves music. It reacts instantly, and the body responds. Rock music is filtered through the auditory cortex, where it creates the initial perception. From there, it moves to the cerebellum and the motor cortex.

Here is where your body will begin to react physically. The prefrontal cortex is the command center of the brain and gets activated to interact. The amygdala and nucleus accumbens also play a role in this activation.

Emotional reactions to the music are paired with expectation, anticipation, and the satisfaction derived provides neuro-stimuli. This stimulates the endorphins and dopamine release in the brain and assists with its absorption.

The brain’s overall experience with rock music is then stored in the hippocampus, where it can be made available at will through a future interaction with rock music. The neural pathways of rock have been established in the brain.

4 Reasons Rock Music Makes You Smarter

Reason #1 – Rock Music Releases Happy Endorphins

The quest for happiness is a journey civilization has been on for centuries. People who listen to rock music will profess to have found the elixir to joy wrapped up in their favorite band’s latest album or the plethora of rock classics available today.

Studies show that, in general, people who listen to rock music are a lot happier than those who prefer to listen to other genres. Rock music has such a positive effect on the brain that the release of endorphins creates a positive environment.

So, how do endorphins make you smarter? – It is proven that happy people are more positive, productive, and alert and can handle more.

Reason #2 – Rock Music Raises Cognitive Ability

Several studies show how playing an instrument can raise cognitive abilities, but what about listening to rock music? Listening to rock music has shown a significant increase in people’s cognitive skills who do so regularly.

The cognitive abilities most improved by rock music are attention control, comprehension, reasoning, understanding, working memory, attention control, and planning skills. These fundamental abilities can be applied in work, personal life, and when partaking in your hobbies.

So, how does cognitive ability make you smarter? Well, because cognitive skills are directly referring to a person’s intelligence. IQ and intelligence are not quite the same thing but are commonly confused with one another.

Reason #3 – Rock Music Creates New Neural Pathways

Music can assist the brain in organizing and even creating new neural pathways. Rock music is often complex and can assist in building non-musical areas such as communication, receptive language movement, and cognitive skills.

The plasticity of the brain is fundamental in its day-to-day function. The brain was traditionally seen as a hardwired organ after the critical development period had passed. In contrast, the brain has an incredible capacity to modify and adapt its functional and structural organization and changes to any environmental input it is exposed to.

There are specific neural pathways activated by music and music only. Rock music, in particular, can ignite this pathway and build new ones.

So, how do new neural pathways make you smarter? The building of new neural pathways can raise the rock music listener’s IQ over some time.

Reason #4 – Rock Music Can Help You Learn A New Language Phonetically

Now, this might sound impossible, but if you’ve ever been to a rock concert in Argentina where AC/DC is playing, and you hear the whole crowd not just humming the melody but sing along to every song, you will know this to be true.

Not to say that you will speak the foreign language fluently, but it certainly assists in language identification. Scientists have proven that humming and listening to rock songs in other languages can help you learn them phonetically. Bands often sing in English but speak a different mother tongue, for example, Roxette.

So, how does learning a new language phonetically make you smarter? By repeating a song in a different language, you will soon memorize and be able to sing the song without thinking, thereby adding to your language skills and memory.

Four Of The Smartest Rock Musicians

As further proof that rock music makes you smarter, we look at six of the most intelligent rock musicians on the planet. Not only do they play instruments, but they are responsible for some of the most memorable rock songs and melodies in modern history.

1.   Brian May From Queen

At the top of the brilliant list is Queen guitarist Brian May. Professor May earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the Imperial College in London in 2007. He was also the chancellor of John Moore’s University of Liverpool between 2008 and 2013. He recently collaborated with NASA on a Pluto mission and has an asteroid named after him.

2.   Greg Gaffin From Bad Religion

Greg Gaffin is most probably one of the most learned frontmen in the rock music world. He graduated with a master’s from UCLA and then a Ph.D. in zoology from Cornell University and has taught life sciences at both. Not only frontman and Professor but also a published author on humanism and evolution.

3.   Dexter Holland From The Offspring

Famous for his song Pretty Fly For A White Guy, Dexter Holland has a Ph.D. in molecular biology. He has a pilot’s license and has taken on a flight worldwide in his plane. Not only that, he is a successful businessman and philanthropist.

4.   Duff McKagan From Guns N’ Roses

Previously a high-school dropout Duff is into wealth management and is very successful, having enrolled into the Alber’s School of Business and Economics at Seattle University. He is also a published author and a successful businessman.

Suffice to say, based upon these four legends of rock music, listening, making, and playing rock music seems to have many educational benefits.

What Are The Benefits Of Listening To Rock Music?

It is well known that listening to music, in general, has great benefits but what about rock music precisely? Besides showing that it can and does make you smarter, it will get your brain going and in a great mood.

Rock music is known for reducing negative feelings and depression. Reducing negativity increases the brain’s capacity to be cognitive and to function optimally. The stress hormone cortisol can cause havoc within the body, so reducing this while listening to some good rock music is beneficial for your overall health.

It’s Good For The Brain

As we have seen, listening to rock music has several benefits for the brain. Whether you listen to Country rock or heavy rock, the outcome is the same. The benefits are most notable in the cognitive function of the brain and long and short-term memory.

Listening to rock music increases the spatial rotation in the brain and releases endorphins that make the listener feel really good.

Creates A Sense Of Community

People usually don’t like feeling isolated and out. The rock music genre is incredibly diverse, and the fan base is vast, containing people from all walks of life. Doctors, lawyers, judges, teachers, economists, students, janitors, electricians all have different jobs, but if they all love rock music, that makes them part of a community.

Something suitable for the body is good for the brain, and feeling like you belong gives a sense of security, self-esteem, and camaraderie. This feeling allows the brain to function optimally. 

You Read More About Rock Music

Firstly, you will probably start reading more about the music you listen to, your favorite band, and the members. This quest for knowledge goes hand in hand with having a sense of community, allowing you to freely participate in intelligent conversation about the topic.

Reading has incredible benefits on its own, from adding years to your life to increasing creativity, vocabulary, and empathy for others and situations. You might find that your general knowledge is in such high demand, you could start your own media publication on rock music facts and trivia. 

It Makes You Less Violent

The common perception is that heavy rock music can turn a person violent. The truth is that it increases a person’s cognitive ability, therefore making an individual more sensitive to violence and violent behavior.

Children and teenagers exposed to rock, heavy rock, and metal music are often much happier and well-adjusted, not displaying the typical teen angst commonly seen with other music genres.

Listening to the rock music you love can help you control emotion or safely release emotion. This means rock music help regulate emotions such as sadness and anger.

Significantly Reduces Stress And Anxiety

One of the most debilitating conditions among people today is anxiety. Anxiety reduces a person’s ability to function greatly and puts the brain in a fright or flight mode. The body releases cortisol and adrenaline to escape danger, but there is none. This causes a lot of oxidative damage to your body and the brain.

Listening to rock music regularly will help reduce that stress and calm the anxiety allowing the person to apply cognitive function and reason. Stress and anxiety are linked to more than 60% of chronic illnesses. Rock music can raise your mood and boost your immune system.

Does Listening To Rock Music While You Sleep Make You Smarter?

Listening to music, in general, activates the hippocampus. It improves your memory and memory storage significantly. Rock music, like other genres, activates both the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

At night when you rest, the brain is less engaged in activities that demand a lot of concentration. This engagement of left and right significantly improves the problem-solving ability of a person. Therefore, it will make you smarter if you listen to rock music at night.

Will Listening To Rock Music While You Study Make You Smarter?

Teachers might tell you to “reach good grades; you should study in silence,” well, that doesn’t work for every student. Some prefer to have music playing softly in the background or via headphones while they work and study.

A particular award-winning rock producer syncopated his high-school study work to a few of his favorite Bon Jovi songs. That way, he used to hums the pieces and remembered the keywords to complete the questions. That is an ingenious way to study and memorize work.

Of course, not every rock genre will be suited to help you study. Some songs or tempos might distract you too much, and you lose concentration. However, making an excellent playlist for studying will help you relax, focus and while you study, it will increase your cognitive abilities. This is not for every student, but listening to rock music while you study can definitely make you smarter.

Smart Ways Rock Music Has Influenced Society

For decades rock music has shaped, influenced, or changed the way people think and react to global events, and the smart way in which rock music has been used for the greater good shows a lot of thought and intelligence behind it.

Rock music can be an intelligent way of delivering a message openly without saying things directly or making aggravating statements. The following songs expressed their views and concerns in a very savvy way;

  • Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2 – This song helped shed light on the ongoing issues in Northern Ireland in 1983
  • WAR by Edwin Starr – This song was a protest against the war in Vietnam, 1970
  • Runaway Train by Soul Asylum – Used the pictures of 26 runaways in their video, and two of them were returned home.
  • Do They Know Its Christmas- This song changed a lot of peoples views on giving and created awareness for Band-Aid in 1984
  • I Wanna Hold Your Hand by The Beatles – This song started the rock revolution in the 1960s


Rock music is responsible for cultural movements, influencing politics and fashion, and, most importantly, the way people behave and think. That shows and proves that intelligent people make the music and the ability of the fans and followers to listen to it, enjoy it, and evolve with it makes you more cognitive, sensitive, and smart.


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