Certainly, multiple studies have shown that musical training, like playing an instrument, can strengthen plasticity in your brain. After all, it is an activity that requires that your brain coordinate activity across a variety of different regions. When neuroscientists scan the brains of people playing an instrument, they see many areas are activated, including regions involved with movement, sound, vision, and memory. Over time, that kind of neural work-out helps to ready your brain to tackle other material, too.

There is also some evidence to suggest that listening to music while studying can also help with learning and recall. But before you crank up your favourite heavy metal band, there are some caveats: The best study music, generally, is calm and soothing, without lyrics that might distract you from what you are working on.