What are the benefits of Piano Lessons?
There are various benefits of piano playing that impact the brain in many ways. After all, music has been part of human culture for thousands of years. The oldest instrument discovered, the Neanderthal flute, dates back around 60,000 years. Music is central to our life because of its unique, positive effects on the individual and the community.
One of the greatest benefits of having a piano in our lives is also one we’ve known about the longest; the uplifting effect it has on our spirit. For example, when we sit on the piano bench and start tickling the ivories, we tap into a powerful way to communicate emotions words can’t express, to enliven a gathering, or to be in what researchers call “the zone.” Anthony Green, the author of The Inner Game of Music, refers to it as “relaxed concentration.” But why is it beneficial? Well, according to psychologists, being in “the zone” will lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
Whether we grew up in a musical family, encouraged to practice endless hours before tons of recitals, or if we claim the littlest musicality of anyone we know, there are unquestionable benefits to playing musical instruments, especially a piano. Studies have also shown that it is truly never too late to start learning piano. The mental and physical benefits apply to all ages.
How playing piano benefits your brain?
We can divide the benefits of playing piano into three categories:
- Physical changes in the brain.
- Greater emotional intelligence.
- Enhanced well-being.
How can piano lessons help the brain?
With physical changes, we refer to those positive changes in the plasticity and wiring of the brain. After as little as 5 months of regularly playing at a beginner level, changes have been observed. The Corpus Callosum, the part of the brain that connects the two hemispheres, will increase in size. These positive effects can be observed even when learning later in life as a retirement hobby.
Piano lessons can boost your child’s language skills more than reading. Children who take music lessons are more sensitive to a wider range of tones and different pitches, which can help when learning new words. In addition, they develop fine motor and hand-to-eye coordination.
How can piano lessons make you more emotionally resilient?
When speaking of greater emotional intelligence, we describe it as the ability to recognize emotions in yourself and others and use them to guide thinking. Listening to music is a natural and essential part of learning to play music. This listening also means you become more attuned to subtle changes in tone of voice during conversation. This awareness increases empathy and can positively impact all conversations with colleagues, friends, and family. Last, but not least, being able to sit at the piano and express ourselves, blocking out the rest of the world for a moment (being “in the zone”), is one of the greatest benefits to personal well-being.
Benefits of piano lessons for kids
Being able to play the piano is a great skill for a child (or adult!) to have. Most piano teachers and experts understand the joy that kids can derive from taking piano lessons. Students that embark in this beautiful music journey will achieve valuable skills, such as, and not limited to:
Self-discipline and grit: Contrary to popular belief, playing piano is not easy. One must be skilled with both hands, have to listen and use the pedals, which makes piano playing a coordination challenge, not to mention the fine-motor skills!
Mental fortitude: Since they will be dealing with rhythms, children that take piano lessons have a greater sense of timing and how to feel the rhythm, which is also great for dancing!
The ability to handle stress: I always recommend that all of my students play in recitals. Over the years, students improve their ability to handle the stress and pressure that comes with performing for an audience.
Gain confidence: Playing for an audience is nerve racking and it takes a lot of bravery to go out there and perform in concerts. It is exciting to see how piano students become more confident as time progresses.
Memory improvement: My students are often required to memorize their music and perform without any score/sheet music; this helps them develop memory skills, which will be an advantage when they get older.
Making new friends: All of my students are strongly encouraged to participate in studio class where they perform their pieces in a more casual setting. This helps prepare them for the formal recitals, but also gives them a place to connect socially and musically with their peers. In addition, I often assign students to play duets together. This is a great challenge for wherever their current skill level lies and brings an element of teamsmanship to an otherwise solo venture.
What is the best age to start music lessons?
Piano lessons can start as young as 3 years old. However, keep in mind these lessons will look a lot different than piano lessons for students that are 5-8 years old. For instance, in most cases, the parent would be the “co-teacher” and would be completely involved during the lesson. This means the parent will be learning piano as well. We would focus on musical games and movement activities (eurhythmics) to further develop skills like feeling and tapping the beat in a song, learning the difference between left vs right hand, identifying a melodic line, etc. The most appropriate age to start piano, according to experts, would be between 5 and 7 years old.
Potential benefits for Kids with ADHD
ADHD is a disorder that is commonly found in numerous children and adolescents, and sometimes even with adults, and it affects them in various ways. Professionals estimate that the number of children with this disorder is in the millions.
Kids with ADHD are hyperactive. Taking piano lessons and making music together in either an unstructured or a structured manner with a trained music therapist can provide these children with obligatory time to release their creative energy in a very positive way. Many parents and custodians of people with ADHD have claimed that music therapy has helped their children focus a great deal better.
For children that have been diagnosed with ADHD, playing piano has great advantages. Here is a link with a great story about a mother with a kid with ADHD.
Piano Benefits for Adults: am I too old to start learning to play piano?
Good news! No matter your age, playing the piano is a wonderful skill to have for a variety of reasons. It may be a little difficult to see the benefits of starting to learn piano later in life, but rest assured, there are actually many advantages to starting piano lessons at any time!
Experiences with adult beginners are that they find it much easier to grasp the key concepts like note reading and recognizing rhythms. As adults, we are much more experienced in learning to understand new and unfamiliar concepts, and our brains are better equipped to find patterns.
A great advantage adults have is their grown-up hands! Yes, this may sound a little dorky and obvious, but unlike children, adults’ hands and fingers are much stronger and more dexterous, meaning they don’t have to spend hours and hours developing their technique before being able to play even the easiest songs.
Now, here are some more benefits for adults that playing piano enables:
Prevents the loss of brain processing, hearing, and memory
Improved counting & math skills
Improves reading comprehension
Encourages creativity and discipline
Strengthens hand muscles & hand-eye coordination
Expands cultural knowledge
Reduces stress & anxiety
The picture above shows my dad, age 70, taking piano lessons. He was, sadly, diagnosed with Lewy Body Disease (a form of dementia) a few years ago and his motor skills have drastically declined. It is very hard for my dad to do stuff as he used to, let alone form sentences and walk, yet whenever we have lessons and play together, he acts noticeably energized, physically stronger, and always smiles.
Now that you are aware of the benefits of piano lessons, please use this link to schedule an interview or fill out the form below.
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