Among the most rewarding activities we can partake in, music must rank highly. Learning to play the piano not only helps us to express our deepest thoughts, feelings, and ideas, but scientific research has demonstrated that it also has enormous benefits for the human mind.
Here are just a few of the myriad of proven benefits of learning piano: • Improves math skills • Develops better language skills
• Encourages creativity
• Strengthens hand muscles and improves hand-eye coordination
• Improves memory functions and critical thinking
• Requires concentration, discipline, and patience
• Prevents Brain Processing, Hearing, and Memory Loss
Neuroscientific studies have shown that playing a musical instrument activates almost every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. In other words, it’s a “complete” brain workout. Not only does it activate the left and right brain simultaneously, but it also strengthens the connections between each side, so that neural pathways become faster and more flexible.
Playing music increases the volume and activity in the brain's corpus callosum, the bridge between the two hemispheres, which enables messages to get across the brain quicker and through more diverse routes. This may allow pianists to solve problems more effectively and creatively, in both academic and social settings.
The discipline and practice of playing music strengthens brain functions in other activities. It also unifies the linguistic and mathematical precision of the left brain with the novel and creative content that the right excels in.
Several randomized studies of participants, who showed the same levels of cognitive function and neural processing at the start, found that those who were exposed to a period of music learning showed enhancement in multiple brain areas, compared to the others.
Students who take piano lessons are more likely to score highly on standardized tests. They’re more likely to develop strong language skills. Since music is a language itself, of course, one learns how to read, write, and speak through the language of music.
Learning to play piano also has value from a physical perspective. It has been prescribed as a treatment for arthritis because it strengthens the hand and finger muscles. It helps build hand eye coordination for students of any age.
Because making music also involves creating and comprehending its emotional core and message, musicians often display higher levels of executive function, a category of interlinked tasks which include planning, strategizing, and attention to detail and requires simultaneous analysis of both cognitive and emotional aspects. This ability also has an effect on how our memory systems work. And, indeed, musicians exhibit enhanced memory functions, creating, storing, and retrieving memories more quickly and efficiently. Pianists brains are able to use their highly connected brains to give each memory multiple tags, such as an emotional tag, an auditory tag, a context tag, and a conceptual tag, much like a good search platform on the Internet.
But beyond the cognitive and physical benefits of learning the piano, the greatest benefit is the joy of making music. Learning to play the piano can help us express life’s vast array of emotions, thoughts, ideas, and stories. As Beethoven once said, “Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.”
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3814522/ https://www.yourlifeprotected.co.uk/news/music-and-arthritis/ https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/music-and-health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618809/
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Mr. Malek has been teaching with San Jose Piano Lessons for over 10 years. Having played on live TV and in competitions, and with experience teaching students, he is a musician at heart and loves to write about piano in specific.