From Donna Maurer: how learning piano can improve other areas of your life
The piano is a powerful instrument, allowing a person to become musically talented as well as gaining and retaining the knowledge of various abilities. When you take the time to learn the piano, the benefits can actually help with improving many other areas within your life. It’s hard to imagine that playing an instrument can do this, but these improvements are actually backed by science and studies, proving that it truly is a beneficial instrument to learn all around.
If you are or were ever considering taking up piano lessons, there are some truly great improvements in your life that you can experience when you do so.
Improves Mental Health & Wellbeing
Because playing the piano is stimulating your brain, some of the biggest improvements that come from learning are that you experience less stress and anxiety, as well as an increase in self-esteem and cognitive development, improving your memory through practice and repetition. For most of us, day to day life can attribute to feelings of anxiety and stress, which leads to feelings of hostility and resentment, making us snap, overreact, or take out frustrations on our families at times. Taking 10, maybe 15 minutes to play the piano can greatly impact your mental health in a way that melts away the stress and the calming effect can keep you from letting those feeling get the better of you.
Improves Physical Health
Not just to help improve your brain, learning the piano will improve your physical health as well. Studies have shown that learning the piano lowers your blood pressure through the decrease in stress, and it also strengthens your hand muscles and eye coordination. Vincent Reina, a long time piano teacher from Music To Your Home, states that “Learning the piano develops the brain in a way that releases toxins and creates a sense of inner peace, while also strengthening motor skills in the hands and improving your memory.”
You probably don’t think of hands and fingers as muscles that need to be improved, but for a lot of people, particularly those who spend a lot of time in front of the computer doing typing day after day, the muscle improvement is a huge help! The fingers movements, when they strengthen those muscles can help with the prevention of conditions like carpal tunnel. For that benefit alone it’s worth giving your fingers a good workout!
Improves Math and Reading Skills
Because learning the piano requires significant counting and measuring for time signatures, math skills are improved while learning, particularly in younger children. It also improves reading comprehension due to learning how to read the notes, as well as the different dynamics necessary for various pieces of music while playing, such as playing louder, softer, with force, etc. A study conducted found that students who took up learning an instrument surpassed their peers in both math and reading grades.
Improves Hearing and Listening Ability
An essential part of learning the piano is recognizing sounds and inflexions, so it’s no surprise that another improvement that comes from practice is your hearing ability. Being able to detect pitch, recognize differences in the utilization of the different pedals on the piano, as well as dynamics has an improving effect on the inner ear which can help with increased hearing ability when ageing as well. There was research done by ABC News that showed the strengthened hearing and listening was achieved by those who learned music in a sense where it assisted in the ability to pull out different instruments and harmonies within musical pieces, and how that could help when needing to hear/listen to someone in a noisy environment.
Improves Patience and Creativity
There is no denying that your brain gets a workout when you are learning piano. Because learning requires knowledge and focus, your patience is tested since learning a new piece, or even simple beginner piano pieces require steady practice and consistency. When you take the time to focus and work, you exercise your patience in taking the time to learn. Patience is difficult to come by these days, as we live in a technology-advanced world where most of our needs can be immediately satisfied. Exercising patience is a great tool for overcoming frustrations and taking time to suspend our judgment before making decisions.
Creativity is another benefit that comes from learning the piano. Using your improvisational skills to be original, tap into your musical abilities and come up with your own unique sounds, harmonies or even written pieces of music gives your brain a workout, exercising your creativity. It also can give you the awesome ability to create something that inspires and influences others when they hear it if your creative genius is tapped and you find yourself wanting to write music on your own.
Improves Time Management Skills
Any extra activity that you put into your busy schedule is a test of Time Management, so adding piano lessons is no exception to assisting with learning how to manage those short 24 hours we have every day. This includes managing your time to practice before and after your lessons every week as well because it’s important to make sure you’re giving yourself time to learn and study the pieces in addition to attending your lesson.
The piano is a marvelous instrument, and it is truly amazing to see how many improvements within your life, let alone the advancement of your piano skills, can come from learning. The self-discipline, concentration, and patience alone can help you in many aspects of home life, and the sharpening of brainpower can help with both school and work. All of these improvements are significant reasons why learning the piano, no matter what age, is a great decision to make, and a beneficial hobby to have within your life.