10 Benefits of Playing Piano
We could talk to you about the thousands of reasons we love playing the piano and why it benefits our lives, but let’s face it, we’re a little biased! There are actually scientifically proven benefits to playing the piano. Here are a few:
1. Stress Relief
Studies show that playing the piano improves mental health. People who play the piano tend to experience less anxiety and depression than their nonmusical counterparts. Playing for a few minutes a day can improve self-esteem, make you feel more positive, and can lower your blood pressure.
FUN FACT: Piano lessons and playing are a common form of therapy used for ADD.
2. Split Concentration
Split concentration, also called divided attention, is an integral part of playing the piano, which helps sharpen your concentration skills. To play the piano, one must use both hands, read music, listen to the notes you’re playing, and work the pedals. That’s a lot to do at once! Once you become adept at using split concentration at the piano, you will find your multitasking skills in the outside world also greatly improve.
3. It’s easy to play!
Unlike other instruments, the piano is easy to play. (it really is!) There is no physical pain involved with learning to play the piano. When new to the guitar, one must build up calluses on the fingers, and when learning to play a brass or woodwind instrument, one must learn how to use your facial muscles and lips to produce sound. Both are often painful and can dissuade otherwise enthusiastic students from continuing to learn. To play the piano, all you have to do is sit, and press down a key.
Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury. In simpler terms, neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change form and function specifically when stimulated by physical activity.
Playing the piano changes the brain in a positive way! Studies show that music stimulates the brain in a way no other activity does. While playing a piece on the piano, you are adding new neural connections, which primes your brain for other forms of communication. So while you think you are just working on a particularly tough piano piece, you are also improving your memory, attention, speech, language, spatial and math skills, and even the ability to vocally convey emotions.
FUN FACT: Practicing music at an early age can make structural changes to the brain that stay with you for the rest of your life.
5. Improved Test Scores / School Performance
Grade school students who take piano lessons have better general and spatial cognitive development than students who do not take lessons. Middle and high school students scored much higher on standardized tests than if they were involved in instrumental music. Took music lessons as a child? Good news! You’ll be better able to retain information in your college lectures.
In an increasingly frenetic world, it is more important than ever to be able to focus. Playing the piano has been proven to help improve concentration, which helps in every area of life.
University studies conducted in Georgia and Texas found significant correlations between the number of years of instrumental music instruction and academic achievement in math, science and language arts. (University of Sarasota Study, Jeffrey Lynn Kluball; East Texas State University Study, Daryl Erick Trent)
FUN FACT: Children who study the piano for two years or more can remember 20% more vocabulary words than their peers
6. It’s good for your physical health
Regular piano playing offers different physical and physiological advantages to players. It sharpens fine motor skills, improves dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Music has also been shown to reduce heart and respiratory rates, cardiac complications, and to lower blood pressure and increase immune response. Playing the piano also makes your hands and arm muscles much stronger than the average person.
7. Improved Aural Awareness
Do you have a naturally musical ear, or are you tone deaf? Playing the piano can improve your overall aural awareness no matter where you fall in this range. Playing the piano trains you to recognize tones, intervals, and chords as well as helping you to develop a sense of pitch. And it doesn’t matter how young or old you start! No matter your age, playing the piano and taking piano lessons helps to improve your aural awareness.
Is aural awareness important anywhere other than music? Yes! Good aural awareness makes it easier to identify and understand sound patterns of foreign languages, can fight dyslexia while it is still developing, and can help you if you have trouble hearing when there is a lot of background noise.
8. Human Growth Hormones (HgH)
(From WebMd) Human growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. It triggers growth in children and adolescents. It also helps to regulate body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and possibly heart function.
Studies show that students who take piano lessons had increased levels of HgH in their system. This is a positive side effect of taking piano lessons because growth hormones help keep energy levels up and prevent aches and pains in old age.
9. Constructive Criticism
Students of the piano get lots of positive feedback as well as constructive criticism from their teachers. Receiving criticism is never fun, but when offered gently and in small increments over time, it prepares the student to accept feedback in a positive way. This ability to respond to, and learn from, criticism carries over to other aspects of daily life, such as school, work, and relationships.
10. Live a More Beautiful Life
Ok, this benefit is definitely more subjective than the others, but hear us out! Music is incredibly powerful, and piano music, in particular, can bring out strong emotions in both the listener and player. The piano was designed to reflect human emotion and feeling, so it’s no wonder that people react strongly with joy, sorrow, and wonder.
And the wonderful thing about piano music is that you can share it with your family and friends! Music is a language that crosses all barriers of age, ethnicity, etc. It is a wonderful way of bringing together the larger community, as well as smaller groups of family and friends.