Hearing music can make us dance, laugh, or cry; it has the power to excite us or give us goosebumps. Playing music, on the flipside, can make you smarter. Learning an instrument improves your brain’s executive function—the ability to manage resources and achieve goals. In doing so, being musical also strengthens your capacity to consider multiple concepts at once, a key facet of creative thinking. Instruments with baked-in teaching tools might be no replacement for an experienced human instructor, but they’re easy, at-home ways to help start the process. Bonus: They won’t get on your case about practicing your scales.
1. Strum the strings
Fretlight FG-621 guitar’s translucent polymer fretboard show your fingers where to hold the strings to craft chords. Compatible smartphone apps, such as Guitar Tunes and MyJam, wirelessly send signals to those lights to guide you through fingerings, scales, and power chords. You can slow down or speed up the lessons to match your skill level. Once you’ve mastered the basics, turn off the lights and rock out on your legit electric ax until your fingers bleed from too much shredding.