Learning piano not only enhances your life but it can also provide satisfaction and lead you to happiness. It’s commonly said that the key to life is to find happiness—to be content and fulfilled in this one life that we all live. It is often easy to take for granted the simple things in life that can bring us joy, like watching a great movie, spending time reading a good book, or listening to our favorite music. Our hobbies are one avenue that can lead us to happiness and oftentimes offers opportunities for self-improvement and honing our skills.
Take learning to play an instrument—specifically, the piano – for example. What some may assume is a fun hobby can actually be much more beneficial in your life than you realize. Learning piano is a life skill that actually has the ability to improve both your physical and mental health. Here are seven ways that playing the piano provides abilities you can utilize throughout your adult life:
Learning Piano Gives You:
1. Refined Motor Skills / Coordination
As you age, people tend to have more joint pain and sometimes lose their eyesight, develop arthritis and have a higher risk of heart problems. If you’re a piano player, you get a consistent workout in hand-eye coordination, sharpening your fine motor skills and reducing your heart rate. This improves your physical health since the decrease in heart rate lowers your blood pressure, increasing immune response.
Vincent Reina, a music school founder an instructor of piano lessons for adults, encourages that “if you haven’t picked up the piano but think now maybe you should, look into the numerous options and formats for lessons – it’s never too late to start!
The piano is one of the easiest instruments to start learning from for adults.” One reason for this is because, unlike a guitar, you don’t have to build up calluses on your fingers, or with a woodwind have to work your breath, tongue and facial muscles, which can cause pain if overstimulated. There is no pain in playing the piano – its only requirements are focus and practice.
2. Stress Relief
We all have bad days. Sometimes the overwhelming stress of your busy life can get you down, leave you feeling depressed. Playing the piano has proven to help reduce the levels of cortisol your body makes, which is a stress
component. In a study done by a group of researchers in Japan, the piano playing was actually the most effective stress reducer of the four activities chosen within the study group. Since playing the piano can refocus your mind and decrease anxiety, it is a great way to take those bad and stressful days and make them better with a little bit of playing.
3. Memory and Concentration
The piano requires you to focus on more than one task at a time: you have to pay attention not only to the notes, but the dynamics, rhythm, the addition of the pedal for sustaining, and more. Since you have to concentrate on multiple things at once, you utilize a lot of brain activity and increase receptors that assist you with both memory and concentration. Practicing a piece over and over again embeds it within your brain to stimulate your memory, both short and long-term. Both of these benefits can help with things like homework in school, or tasks at your job to have exceptional focus and the ability to remember important deadlines.
4. Discipline / Time Management
Children who lack the wherewithal to see a task through to completion oftentimes don’t have the drive and determination necessary to remain disciplined. Taking piano lessons gives you a great sense of discipline because you have to have the perseverance to keep going when learning a particularly difficult piece. This challenge will push you to practice every day. You will work hard to master it, staying motivating and developing patience. Playing the piano is challenging and you will only achieve success with practice, so you have to have the discipline to see it through.
Along similar lines of discipline, playing the piano also helps with time management, a skill that anyone with a busy schedule desires to have. Many of us have busy schedules, especially families with multiple children who have different interests. When playing the piano you have to work hard when learning a new and difficult piece of music, and that means you need to organize your schedule to create practice time. You will have to utilize your time efficiently to find the best times where you can focus and work on the challenging parts.
5. Ear Training
Your ears are an essential part of your piano playing. If you have a “good ear” where you can identify chords and intervals you are most likely more musically inclined to begin with, but that doesn’t mean you cannot develop one. Aural awareness is something that comes from playing the piano, because it allows you to build up those skills in listening where you can recognize song patterns, and even assist
if you have trouble hearing since it requires you to focus on the sound and alleviating background noises. It can even raise your awareness of certain language patterns as well because similarly to music, the speech patterns will all sound similar, so you’ll be able to recognize a foreign language when it is being spoken.
6. Brain Development
Since concentration and memory are both strengthened during playing, you also have the added benefit of stimulating and creating new neural connections within your brain, which assist you in other forms of communication. Neuroplasticity is something that is developed when you learn to play the piano. Your brain learns from having the repetition of playing something over and over again and can change and re-learn, rebuild, and develop new techniques within your playing the piano as well. Though you can develop your piano skills later as an adult, if you start learning when you are younger, then the structural changes that happen within your brain stay with you throughout your life.
7. Emotional Development
Playing the piano not only improves with your mental health through stress and anxiety relief, but it provides strong emotional intelligence. Music has the amazing ability to evoke emotions and strong feelings, allowing you to fully express yourself when you play. That, in turn, allows you to enhance your listening and the ability to be more perceptive of others and their feelings, providing empathy and support. Your reactions to things are stronger because you’ve tapped into those emotions through your playing, making it easy to recognize them in others as well.
You can start playing the piano at any time since there are no age restrictions. With all of the added benefits that come from learning to play including organization, improved concentration, physical and mental well-being, there is no better time than now to start taking piano lessons. The abilities and strengths that are brought forth from learning such a simple instrument have such a wonderful and positive effect on your life, bringing you closer to that level of happiness we all desire.
About the Author
Donna has had a love for music since elementary school when she took her first piano lesson. Having tried her hand at numerous instruments, she now spends her time writing about music, the music industry, and teaching lessons. She is a contributor on multiple music blogs and can often be found creating helpful articles for her fellow musicians and music lovers.
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