I have been lucky enough to learn to play the piano when I was in high school. Without my weekly lessons, my life probably would’ve been different. I formed good bonds with various people and learned about different piano pieces which increased my cultural awareness and enabled me to perform a few times, even in university.
Yet, my story need not be the only reason to motivate you to start playing the piano. Listen to science.
Here are 5 scientifically-proven benefits of playing the piano:
1. It helps you to focus better
This video from TED shows the neuroscientific evidence of how learning to play a musical instrument gives a “full-body brain workout”. The same goes for playing the piano. When you play it, you do multiple things at once: read the music sheet, coordinate your fingers, use the foot pedal, maintain the musical timing, and remember which keys to play. These require split focus and concentration into all tasks equally. This disciplined focus helps you in other areas of your life too.
2. It reduces stress and helps with depression
Multiple studies show that making music for fun greatly helps in reducing stress, depression, and anxiety. Playing the piano is no different. It’s relaxing and enjoyable. This reduces the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Also, playing the piano stimulates other areas of the brain that helps in making you feel better. No wonder it’s been used in effective music therapy to improve mental health, including the elderly.
3. It teaches you grit
The piano may be one of the easiest instruments to learn. However, becoming better at it isn’t so easy. It requires discipline, patience, dedication, openness to constructive criticism, time management skills – all of which are associated with grit i.e. strength of character. When you transfer these skills to other life areas, you become a more mature and confident person to tackle life.
4. It strengthens your hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills
Hand-eye coordination is important for most daily activities, including writing and typing. Playing the piano means you can boost these. How? Hand-eye coordination enhances as you press the piano keys the same time you read and interpret the music sheet. Motor skills improve from deftly moving your fingers at the right time when pressing the keys. Bonus: the hand-eye movement needs your fingers and arms to be in the correct posture and to be in a lot of movement. This strengthens your hand muscles which in turn help in hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
5. It increases the neuroplasticity of the brain.
Neuroplasticity of the brain refers to the brain’s ability to form new neural connections by itself that allow better cognitive development and retention. This helps your brain to adapt to new situations better and makes you more self-reliant.
Playing the piano helps your brain to rewire itself better when you become adept at playing any new or difficult piano piece through dedicated practice. It is a powerful brain stimulant for its evolution, the results of which can be long-lasting.
Playing the piano to create soft melodious music is a blessing for anyone. You’ll see the scientifically proven benefits of playing the piano at any age you start.
In my experience, playing the piano has helped me to become more emotionally in tune when I play a piece. When I enjoy playing it, I realized that it helps to connect with the audience better. Furthermore, it has definitely improved my hand-eye coordination.
Hope this article inspires you to take your playing more seriously and do better!