A few days back, I had a student ask me if my kids, who are now 19, 16, and 13, took piano lessons when they were young. “Absolutely”, was my answer! I then explained to him that, besides our faith, education is one of the most important things to us. Learning music is a part of it. In our home, it truly is reading, writing, arithmetic and piano.
Cheryl and I required our children to take a minimum of 2 years of piano when they were younger because of the many benefits it affords. Here are just some of the many ways learning the piano enriches a person’s life.
Piano is visual and makes it easier to understand music theory.
Amazingly, no other instrument arranges the notes in such a simple way. In fact, it’s even simpler than it first appears. One of the first things I do with a new student is show them that there are really only 12 notes on the piano. The other 76 keys are just duplicates in higher or lower pitches.
The piano also gives us a very simple way to visualize scales and chords. Many other instruments require a person to memorize a combination of keys (flute, clarinet, trumpet) or a place on a fretboard (violin, guitar) or slide (trombone). On a piano, a C is played by pushing down the C key. No interpretation needed.
Piano is a great primer for playing other instruments.
Because the piano is such a visual instrument, it helps students build and maintain a framework through which they understand music as a whole. This is immediately noticeable when someone who has taken a couple of years of piano decides they want to play another instrument.
Instead of that person having to learn how to play the new instrument and understand how music works, this person only has to conquer the instrument itself. With access to the knowledge they have obtained by studying the piano, they generally learn to play the instrument faster than someone who doesn’t have that background.
Learning the piano makes your brain grow.
Yes! You read that correctly. No hype here. In his article entitled, The Benefits of Playing Music Help Your Brain More Than Any Other Activity, John Rampton points to research done at the University of Montreal. Researchers found that musicians have a larger corpus callosum, the part of the brain that connects its two sides.
Other parts of the brain that grow when playing the piano involve movement, hearing and visuospatial abilities. According to scientists, music literally grows the gray matter in the brain which leads to stronger verbal memory, spatial reasoning, and literacy skills.
Learning the piano teaches discipline, concentration, and patience.
We live in a world where we often get things quickly. At the time I write this, Amazon is shipping things out in one day! Some things even ship in a few hours. When it comes to learning the piano, students quickly learn that it’s not something you can accomplish in a week or two.
Sadly, the ads that claim you will learn to play the piano in one month are only true if “playing” means utilizing a few chords and simple melodies. Just like so many other things in life, it really takes years to play more advanced music.
I ran across a quote the other day that explains things very well. “Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it.” – Tom Lehrer
There are so many other benefits that come with playing the piano which include stress relief, improvement of neural connections in the brain, stronger language skills, and so much more! I have more good news for you! It’s never too late to get started.
If you are looking for a teacher, I teach online and studio lessons. Check out what I have to offer by visiting me at www.reynoldspiano.com.
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