Category Archives: music research

Physical and mental benefits of playing the piano

playpianoMusic instructors have always known, educators have known for a few years and researchers are now proving that children who learn how to play the piano benefit greatly. Those who play well into adulthood continue to reap the benefits ranging from agility in the hands to a greater ability to focus. Adults who learn to play the piano in later years also benefit. Several mental and social issues can be tempered by playing the piano through adulthood.

Physically, playing the piano may not seem very demanding, but with time the dexterity gained through daily practice can make other tasks much easier. Many occupations require excellent fine motor skills and these skills are honed to perfection when playing the piano on as regular basis. Eye hand coordination is also enhanced by piano playing. Proper posture is easier to maintain at a desk job when the person has practiced at a piano, with feet on the floor, shoulders back and head up.

Playing  piano can change a person’s habits and tendencies. Learning to play piano music well takes a great deal of time and effort. Dedication is required. No one will learn to play overnight. It may be weeks before a new student plays a recognizable piece. Self-discipline will grow as more difficult pieces require an extra effort to play them correctly. This dedication and discipline can easily be transferred to other tasks, education and careers.

Mentally, piano playing bridges gaps that can be difficult to overcome. Scientific research has proven that learning to play the piano increases cognitive activity by connecting portions of the brain in ways that are different from almost every other activity. This often leads to piano players doing very well in mathematics, science and engineering. Children who play the piano generally score higher on development tests than their peers in all areas. It also helps strengthen the mind’s ability to focus. In an age where multitasking is expected, music requires an intense focus. Regularly practicing will increase how long the mind can stay focused on a task, a trait useful in numerous applications.

For adults, playing the piano can be a way to relieve loneliness, a way to release stress or frustration and even a way to reduce anxiety. Making music is a great outlet for emotions. Taking time to play a piece or two on a particularly stressful day can help refocus the mind and relieve the tension associated with stress.