Seven Reasons Playing Piano Benefits Your Brain & Overall Health

I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't play piano. When I was young, my family had a small upright spinet that I guess (?) I demonstrated an interest in. As soon as I could read (which was pretty young), my Dad, who knew how to play a little bit, started informally teaching me piano. 

Playing the piano has got to be one of the best ways to concurrently develop BOTH sides of your brain. I truly believe EVERYONE could benefit from piano training -- even if you're not a "music person."

Playing piano trains your brain in a very specific way of whole-brain, holistic, integrated thinking. 

Here's how...

Seven Ways Playing Piano Helps Your Brain

Playing piano improves brain processing. 

Gottfried Schlaug, director of the music and neuro imaging lab at Beth Israel Deaconess and Harvard Medical School in Boston, has confirmed through multiple studies that some brains are better suited for learning music. However, all people can benefit and even change the way their brain processes and retains information by learning to play piano.

Source: The Guardian


Playing piano improves kinesthetic abilities. 

In 2013, an institute in Barcelona, Spain, studied the effects of different kinesthetic learning environments and leisure activities. The study found that participants who were assigned piano practice as opposed to others who did sports, painting, etc., showed greater neuro and psychological improvement on the scale they were using.

Source: Science Nutshell


Playing piano reduces stress & anxiety. 

A 2013 article published by the National Library of Medicine found that piano practice can actually help treat depression and alleviate stress in elderly adults. Despite the studied demographic being older adults, these findings are encouraging of all ages that piano practice can serve as a holistic and natural treatment for depression and mood disorders.

Source: NCBI


Playing piano improves rhythm & coordination. 

Learning rhythm is essential to mastering piano, but it also has been shown to have a positive effect on reading skills in children. According to the academic journal, Psychology of Music, “Children exposed to a multi-year program of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers.”

Source: Science Daily


Playing piano builds character & discipline. 

Multiple areas of the brain light up when playing music. Scientists studying the brains of musicians as they play music have found that the discipline of playing music is the equivalent of a full-body brain workout. Strengthening multiple areas of the brain, including our ability to concentrate, focus and apply knowledge, playing music allows us to exercise our brain similarly in other areas. So, it should not be surprising that starting to play piano will trigger increased patience, concentration and discipline in other areas of your life.

Source: TED


Playing piano strengthens hand muscles & improves hand-eye coordination. 

It is no surprise that learning to play piano requires hand-eye coordination, but a recent study on hand motor control in musicians suggests that piano performers have actually changed the cortical mapping to increase finger speeds. For children and adults with reduced motor skills, learning to play the piano can challenge these brain connections to motor movement and even strengthen coordination.

Source: Music and Health


Playing piano improves reading comprehension. 

A 1993 study summarized in the Educational Psychology journal showed that the ability to discriminate between pitch, which is a fundamental ability you learn when playing piano, was linked to good reading performance. Additionally, learning to memorize music before performance exercises reading comprehension skills and the portion of your brain responsible for recall.

Source: Brain Connection & Musician Brain


This is Your Brain On Piano!

Infographic Courtesy of Penn State (www.psu.edu)

Infographic Courtesy of Penn State (www.psu.edu)

 
Jackie Boylhart | Lifestyle Blog