More Than Just Music: Here Are the Health Benefits of Playing Piano

For many people, music is a retreat. A way to escape from reality and enter a fantasy world of your choosing. A way to escape from problems and relieve stress. A way to unwind and relax. But listening to music does much more than that for you; whether you know it or not. Playing music using a musical instrument takes things to the next level.

Several groundbreaking new studies on music and pianos in particular, have revealed startling information about the health benefits of playing the famous hybrid instrument. These studies have discovered that playing music goes far deeper beyond what the eye can see and affects parts of our brains in many different ways.

It was found that mental, physical, intellectual, and social benefits were all to be gained by learning to play a musical instrument. Statistics show that these benefits apply to all age groups; so no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to invest in a piano.

Let’s take a look at several of the most prominent health benefits associated with learning, listening to, and playing the piano instrument.  

Physical Benefits

Playing the piano is a great way to build up strength in the hand muscles. The constant tapping of the keys and the movement of the hands serve as a light form of exercise. Since pianists usually have to play while reading a composition of sheet music in front of them, this activity also greatly increases hand-eye coordination.

Learning to improve rhythm is an essential part of honing your skills with an instrument, no matter what it is. It was found that children who had the opportunity to train with musical instruments had increased coordination and superior reading skills in comparison to the children that weren’t trained.

Another great physical benefit affects kinesthetic learners who take a more hands-on approach to tasks and learn best by performing an action rather than watching or hearing about it through auditory or visual mediums.

According to an article published by the National Library of Medicine in 2013, regular piano practice among seniors was found to provide a variety of health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, decreased stress levels, and as an antidepressant. Although the study focused on seniors, these health benefits can potentially apply to anyone.

Mental Benefits

Being a musician takes some degree of concentration; a pianist maybe more so than others. Discipline and patience are crucial for both composers and serious learners. Scientists have studied the brains of musicians while playing the piano and have found that the amount of discipline required to focus is equivalent to doing a full-body workout at the gym.

Learning how to play the piano can be a great way for children to increase their level of self-esteem. There’s nothing quite like proving your worth than learning how to play an instrument. According to the results of a study that took place in 2014 at a public school in Canada, children that took piano lessons for a few years scored higher on self-esteem and achievement tests.

Playing the piano encourages creativity. This was scientifically proven in a study that Dr. Ana Pinho conducted on jazz pianists. They were instructed to play the instrument while their brains were being monitored. The results showed that while playing, the pianists were tapping into a part of their brain that fired its improvisation ability.

Intellectual Benefits

Who would have thought that playing the piano could make you better at math? Definitely, Martin F. Gardner and his colleagues at the Center for the Study of Human Development at Brown University had their doubts. But after their studies using specialized musical training had concluded, they discovered that second graders had a significantly easier time solving mathematical problems than their peers.

Additional studies going back as far as the early ‘90s describe what is now known as the “Mozart Effect”. The study revealed that preschoolers who took keyboard lessons showed early improvement in speaking, communication, and body language development.

A very important skill to learn that will stay with you for the rest of your life is time management. Letting a child learn how to play the piano is a great way of teaching him/her this skill. By having a lesson plan and a set schedule for practice, play time, and studies, children will learn to juggle each different task and ultimately how to organize their time better.

While you may be focused on the fact that your child is learning how to play beautiful music, you may not have realized that it’s also helping improve his/her life at the same time.  

Excess amounts of time spent using electronic devices and gadgets such as computers and smartphones can cause some serious health issues such as degraded eyesight, brain atrophy, and lethargy. Learning how to play the piano gives your child an opportunity to have fun while avoiding these technological entertainment traps.

Our guest writer is Abigail Henry.