Yes, he did!
Many know that Einstein played the violin. You can even hear his performance of Mozart in this recording:
Beautiful. It’s also a fine example of how intonation supersedes crashing through a lot of notes. Delightful to hear this brilliant man working within the limits of his ability and making the most of his assets! I wish all students who think playing very fast is the only way to prove talent would hear this and be enlightened.
But enough of that…on to his pianist inclinations. Seems his mother was a pianist. And he loved music. I got most of this information from an excellent article on the Psychology Today website:
It would be best if you read it yourselves, but I’ll paraphrase for those in a hurry. It starts with an Einstein quote: “The greatest scientists are artists as well.” It goes on to elaborate on how he ascribed his scientific discoveries more to intuition than to equations.
Directly snipped from article:
In other interviews, he attributed his scientific insight and intuition mainly to music. ‘If I were not a physicist,’ he once said, ‘I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music…. I get most joy in life out of music'(Calaprice, 2000, 155).
For the purpose of justifying the title of this post:
His son, Hans, amplified what Einstein meant by recounting that ‘[w]henever he felt that he had come to the end of the road or into a difficult situation in his work, he would take refuge in music, and that would usually resolve all his difficulties’ (quoted in Clark, 1971, 106). After playing piano, his sister Maja said, he would get up saying, ‘There, now I’ve got it’ (quoted in Sayen, 1985, 26).
Of course everyone who plays the piano, or any other instrument, isn’t a brilliant scientist, but it’s important to recognize that eliminating the arts from the educational curriculum is probably a bad idea if we want to produce students who can solve all kinds of problems creatively.