Have you wondered what you would get out of learning piano? Have your kids asked why you want them to take piano lessons? There are many good reasons to learn to play the piano. The benefits may be intellectual, training the different parts of the brain to work together thus increasing competency in other intellectual pursuits like reading or linguistics.
Playing the piano can foster physical well-being not only by improving motor skills but decreasing blood pressure and increasing immune response. Learning the piano requires also learning about yourself and others. Music is a good means of stress relief and emotional expression. Read on for more of the benefits of playing the piano.
Benefits of Playing the Piano:
Improves the Language Skills
It’s not only learning a few Italian terms that makes learning languages easier for piano players, though it helps. Musicians are adept at learning to merge sound patterns from a new language into words. Children who have difficulty in focusing when there’s background noise may find their attention improves after taking music lessons.
Learning how to follow a melody makes it easier to follow words in a foreign language. Musical notation is practically a language on its own. Learning it improves not only linguistic skills but also reading comprehension.
Improves Reading Comprehension
Children with musical training have an exceptional reading ability and a sizable vocabulary. Children who have had music lessons can remember 20% more vocabulary words than other children. People with dyslexia or other learning disorders show a marked improvement after taking music lessons.
A study published in Psychology of Music shows that children with musical training have better reading skills than children who weren’t trained in music.
Prevents Brain Processing, Hearing and Memory Loss
Playing an instrument is a workout for the brain. Playing the piano increases neuron activity inside your brain. This can greatly expand memory storage. Focusing on many different actions simultaneously improves multitasking skills. Music doesn’t just entertain; it also forms stronger neural connections.
Children who take music lessons show an overall improvement in grades. Learning music will reduce the aging process of the auditory complex part of the brain, staving off the hearing troubles associated with old age.
It stimulates the growth hormones
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is better developed in children who play the piano than ones that don’t. HGH is responsible for cell reproduction and regeneration throughout the body. It’s not just the kids who benefit from HGH! Elderly people with more HGH will have relief from the general aches and pains of aging plus it’s a deterrent to osteoporosis.
Strengthen Hand Muscles
To play the piano adequately, one needs a supple wrist and strong, nimble fingers. Practicing the piano greatly improves hand muscle strength. Increasing hand strength can lead to greater dexterity in other activities.
Mastering the piano can even lead to better typing skills. There are finger exercises that can be done away from the piano to increase their strength and flexibility.
Foster hand/eye coordination
There’s nothing like piano playing to sharpen the fine motor skills! The left hand and the right hand have to be trained to work independently of each other. Add in reading sheet music and hand/eye coordination gets a real workout.
Whether the music student is a child or an adult, they may find that learning piano is an excellent method of developing better hand/eye coordination.
Helps Children accept Criticism Gracefully
The best way to teach a child how to accept criticism as a learning tool is to get them a music tutor. The child will learn the proper way to behave when advised and how to employ someone’s constructive criticism and grow in their talent.
Though it may seem counterproductive at first, constructive criticism (or, more accurately, learning from it) can bolster self-esteem and generate a positive outlook on life. The child learns that they are capable of improvement.
Broadens Cultural Knowledge
Thorough music lessons teach the music of other cultures. Musical preferences are shaped by culture rather than a natural brain preference. Even if your children seem to prefer opera and classical music (Did you perhaps play Mozart while pregnant?) it could benefit them to learn some jazz and bebop.
The best musicians are the ones who can integrate a variety of musical genre into their work. No one told Jim Steinman rock and roll and Wagnerian opera didn’t mix, and he probably wouldn’t have listened if they did. Elton John rocks, bebops, jazzes it up and even composes show tunes.
Moondog did a little bit of everything from jazz to Native American chants to create his very own style. Get your budding musician into everything!
It Relieves Stress
Do you express anger with Chopin? Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude and Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1 in F Major are both good pieces for blowing off steam. They both start off with vibrant, agitated notes that gradually smooth out, like anger gradually fading away.
Playing the piano reverses stress at a molecular level and is a constructive way to channel frustration and anger. Playing music can calm an anxious mind and reduce stress. Many find that playing music is a helpful way to deal with loneliness depression.
Playing the piano causes the brain to serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters, providing positive emotions. People with ADD find that music is an effective form of therapy.
Rome wasn’t built in a day! Once, a student who never timed herself while creating art asked her teacher what she should say when asked how long it took her to create a piece. The teacher wisely advised “Tell them your age.”
Practice with Time Management & Organization
Knowing when and where you have to be for scheduled lessons and recitals is an effective way of practicing time management and organization. Playing piano calls for a routine practice schedule to show improvement.
This can call for a person to learn to better manage and organize their time. Passion and discipline are even greater links to high achievement than raw talent.
- Effects of music learning and piano practice on cognitive function, mood and quality of life in older adults Front Psychol. 2013; 4: 810. Published online 2013 Nov 1. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00810 Sofia Seinfeld, Heidi Figueroa, Jordi Ortiz-Gil, and Maria V. Sanchez-Vives
- Music on the Mind By Debra Viadero April 8, 1998
- The Relation Between Music And Phonological Processing In Normal-Reading Children And Children With Dyslexia by Marie Forgeard, Gottfried Schlaug, Andrea Norton, Camilla Rosam, & Udita Iyengar Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center And Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
- Neural substrates of spontaneous musical performance: an FMRI study of jazz improvisation PLoS One. 2008 Feb 27;3(2):e1679. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001679 by Limb CJ Braun AR
- Music Training: Lifelong Investment To Protect The Brain From Aging And Hearing Loss Nina Kraus & Travis White-Schwoch, Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, www.brainvolts.northwestern.edu, and Department of Communication Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA and Department of Neurobiology & Physiology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA and Department of Otolaryngology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA