That's the launching point for a fantastic little video made by educator Anita Collins and animator Sharon Colman Graham for TED-Ed. What they explain is that while listening to music is beneficial, playing music is "the brain's equivalent of a full-body workout."
What's more: Neuroscientists have found that some of these aspects of mental work are different from any other activity studied, including playing sports or engaging in various creative pursuits.
For teachers, TED-Ed has made a full, customizable lesson plan available on this fascinating topic and exciting research. Happy playing!