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Are you wondering what some of the key benefits of playing the piano are? If so you’ve come to the right place. The piano is one of the more popular instruments out there, and with the rise of online piano lessons, it’s probably the easiest, to begin with. There are a ton of benefits to playing the piano, and it helps to know what those are before committing to the instrument.
Here is a list of 19 Benefits Of Playing Piano
- Stimulates The Brain
- Improved Social Skills
- Improved Accountability Traits
- Improves Hand-eye Coordination
- Teaches Children Patience
- Promotes Creativity
- Improves Motor Skills
- Reduces Stress And Anxiety
- Improves Ear Development
- Helps You Play Other Types Of Instruments
- Therapeutic Benefits
- Helps Boost Self Confidence
- Helps With Discipline
- Develops Good Posture
- Improves Hand And Arm Strength
- Offers Unique Career Opportunities
- Helps Improve Memory
- Improves Deep Breathing
- Math Skills
Everyone has their own reasons for signing up for piano lessons, but these 21 benefits are consistent across the board no matter your background. In this article, I’ll share with you some interesting studies, and other supporting information about these benefits. Let’s start off with how powerful playing piano can be when it comes to stimulating the brain!
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1. Stimulates The Brain
Playing the piano helps stimulate the brain. According to this study by Frontiers In Psychology, studying the piano can help greatly with the cognitive functions of the brain. Because of the complex nature of the piano from notes, to rhythms to musical tones, it does tremendous wonders for motor skill development (more on this later).
Piano study has actually been linked to faster brain development in children; especially when it comes to sound recognition and overall coordination. This is because all of the essential brain functions needed for producing music include visual, aural, and coordination.
Children who study music are able to work out problems quickly; applying logical solutions that produce long-lasting results. These students are also able to maintain a high level of proficiency at something once it has been mastered because that’s what the instrument also requires of them.
There are many studies available that support music having an overall impact on the brain, but there is still some uncertainty to how the length of study affects brain development.
An example of this lies in those who have had a prolonged study at the piano and whether that has a direct impact on their ability to think differently.
Overall pianists are more balanced individuals because the instrument requires this. From leveling out hand strength to balancing their musical ear with better sound encoding, pianists are able to process things a little differently. Pianists also have the unique ability to multitask and develop better problem-solving skills the more they study.
2. Improved Social Skills
One main concern some parents have with piano study centers around the social aspect of things. There’s a common misconception that all musicians do is practice by themselves for hours and have no interaction with the public.
That’s actually not true of course, because there are plenty of opportunities to study in group settings and interact with private teachers.
Most young students will take piano lessons with a teacher, so at an early age, they are learning some important social skills. They work on building trust with that teacher, learning to communicate with them and how to deal with personal instruction and discipline.
Because the teacher is an adult, this will likely be their first real experience outside of a family atmosphere or at school.
Many piano teachers will offer group classes to their students. Group piano classes are a great way for young students to engage with others who are doing the same thing. Many group class formats follow students accompanying each other on tunes, playing games, and working on group problem-solving skills.
This is essentially equivalent in value to what organized sports presents and should ease the mind of parents who worry that their children won’t have much of a social life playing a musical instrument. Beyond this are of course piano recitals and various presentations for family members and the community as a whole.
3. Improved Accountability Traits
When you study the piano there’s not much of an excuse to be made when it comes to accountability. The amount of time and effort put into the instrument has a direct impact on your ability to produce results. Not only that but having to attend lessons regularly helps build their accountability trait.
Good teachers also have very strict rules and expectations of their students. If the student doesn’t follow through on something, the teacher will be able to hear it in their playing; usually leading to a poor lesson.
For young students it’s particularly important to build discipline at the instrument, and also to have certain expectations placed upon them when it comes to practice. They are able to learn at an early age of how to handle their lessons plans, and how to divide their playtime with friends with their intense study of the piano.
Initially, it will be a balancing act, but as a parent, it’s your job to guide them along the way so that they can understand how to be responsible individuals.
Their private teacher will also do their best to not only just give specific homework and assignments, but also a complete breakdown of how to practice and an explanation of why it’s important to do it this way.
Usually, a student is provided with a lesson binder or booklet so that they can track their practice progress, make notes, and also write down questions. The more filled out their lessons sheets are, the more motivated they are to practice and to be their best at each lesson.
Accountability is a serious trait to have, especially as an adult. Those who study the piano are better able to handle their responsibilities and are ultimately more reliable individuals in the workplace and with family and friends.
4. Improves Hand-eye Coordination
You may not want your child to become a concert pianist, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enroll them in piano lessons. Playing the piano does a great deal for overall hand-eye coordination.
As pianists develop they’ll be able to move from learning just one note at a time to being able to do several in succession. With more advanced playing, pianists can make octave leaps and experiment with different types of meter too. Pianists develop speed and better spacial recognition as a result.
Along with the development of those skills for the purposes of playing music, having this sort of coordination is great for other activities too. If your kids love to play sports like tennis, want to take up martial arts, or want to get into painting or anything like this, they’ll be much more improved at it with piano as part of their life.
5. Teaches Children Patience
If you’re looking for instant gratification, then the piano is not going to be the instrument for you. It’s an instrument that takes a great deal of patience and effort in order to improve and master with. There are many steps involved from learning each individual note, locking down solid fingering, polishing dynamics, and even getting ready for a recital.
For children, piano playing is a good thing, because in order to get those results they’ll have to go through a few growing pains. Piano practice involves a slow approach that’s focused on quality; not quantity.
Rather than rushing through a passage of 16th notes, pianists need to digest each and every note one by one and then piece it together so that it sounds refined. I talk about this style of practice in my tips for improving piano playing.
Practicing this way with attention to detail always leads to the best results in piano playing. In life, there are many situations where patience is key before a reward. Children who play the piano are more likely to be patient with other activities too. They have a better understanding of how discipline and following the process can help them be their best.
6. Promotes Creativity
Creativity is an important trait to have in life, especially when it comes to problem-solving, being innovative, and holding positions of leadership. Playing the piano helps specifically with this because music is so heavily focused on being unique at your craft. This goes beyond just Classical piano too.
A 2013 study on Jazz piano and how certain regions of the brain impact creativity done by Dr. Ana Pinho has some fascinating information; you can read about it here. Dr. Pinho took brain scans of pianists and found that those who were more experienced with the instrument used less brain power in order to pull off creative improvisation.
The study also found patterns in the brain where the prefrontal cortex was actually the basis of musical composition that could be done on the fly. Beyond the scientific benefits, ultimately musicians strive to create art that’s both unique and communicates a story.
The piano allows us to experience different sound dynamics, unique chord harmonies and much more. All of those experiences can shape young artists and they can slowly build their own unique style of play over the years. The great thing about piano is that it’s an instrument that can never truly be mastered, so pianists are always learning and recreating themselves.
Many of those same traits can be carried on in life and applied in various situations. Young students who study the piano are able to take what might seem simple to others, and make a unique complex creation out of it!
Beyond just reading sheet music, pianists can also compose at the instrument. I find that composition skills are the most important to have at an early age of study. Many method books actually include improvisation and composition exercises in them from the very beginning. I covered some of these books in my best piano lessons books for beginners article here.
7. Improves Motor Skills
Motor skills are the actions you take that involve your muscles. Playing the piano helps greatly with this, because of the amount of fingerwork involved. We consider these to be the fine motor skills, which are the smaller, more delicate movements and often more difficult to execute.
Fine motor skills include hand and finger movement, coordination of those movements with the eyes, and more. For pianists, it’s important to develop fine motor skills, because they have a direct impact on the ability to perform bigger tasks later on. For more information on the importance of motor skill development, read this article.
As a pianist, each finger operates independently of the other and that dexterity can be developed. The fingers all work in conjunction with the arm and torso which leads to larger movements. On top of that, pianists use each hand independently of each other.
An example of this is playing the accompaniment in the left hand, and the melody in the right hand. Even more complex is when pianists start playing in polyrhythm as evidenced in Chopins etudes.
The ability for pianists to do this so effortlessly has to do with building neurological transmissions. Basically, a pianist can take something that might seem complex to others, break it down to a more digestible form, and then execute it flawlessly.
Those abilities come with practice, however, pianists can develop an overall increase in the ability to do this with other subjects too. Pianists develop various levels of touch too; that’s how they are able to change dynamics so quickly.
8. Reduces Stress And Anxiety
Studying the piano for an extended period of time also helps greatly with mood and overall well-being. More importantly, piano study can help reduce stress and anxiety. Because the instrument is such a focused activity, it commands a large part of your brain’s
attention in order to execute it well. Those that play feel a great deal of satisfaction because playing music is essentially a problem-solving activity. The more problems you solve, the more confidence you build as a pianist. Those good feels don’t just last during the lesson or practice session; they carry on well after you play.
For those preparing for piano recitals, a great deal of anxiety is sometimes associated with the performance aspect of things. Thankfully there are plenty of awesome resources like this one for overcoming piano performance anxiety.
Playing the piano helps develop the traits and types of thought processes that help you deal with stress and anxiety from all kinds of sources.
9. Improves Ear Development
Your ability to recognize pitch, rhythms and harmonies is greatly enhanced when playing an instrument. I find that the piano develops this the best because of the wide range of tones available and it’s overall design.
From the super low A natural to the high C at the other end, pianists have the ability to create a plethora of harmonies. The more you play the piano, the more sensitive your ear will become. Someone who plays the piano can go to an orchestra concert, or even a rock show and pick out some really specific details in the performance.
Beyond hearing pitches and tone, the rhythmic development piano offers are really neat too. Pianists are more in tune with keeping the tempo and trying to always find a balance in their music. This is partly because many pieces are designed with a clear melody and a supporting accompaniment to go with it.
For most instruments, this isn’t possible because they are designed to play a single melody line with the help of both hands; particularly wind instruments. Piano, on the other hand, allows for multitasking to the degree that one can carry themselves as if playing with a chamber orchestra.
Developing your musical ear doesn’t just come from playing the piano for hours each day. There’s some skill associated with it, and a great way to develop it is to take an ear training course. I recommend looking at this list of ear training resources for children and adults.
10. Helps You Play Other Types Of Instruments
If I had to pick the first instrument to start with it would be the piano. The major benefit is that it can help you prepare to play other instruments of all types. From percussion to woodwinds to brass, the piano seems to give the most tools for success on other instruments.
The reason for this is because you can play a variety of pitches from low to high on the instrument. That allows piano students to recognize different pitches early and be comfortable hearing different frequencies.
Next is the ability to accompany yourself and develop a strong rhythmic pulse, a skill that certainly helps when playing the drums and even conducting. Ultimately, it’s an instrument where you can fine tune
11. Therapeutic Benefits
When it comes to healing, music is a great resource. Many times we turn on our favorite artist and listen to a song that makes us feel good. It’s even more satisfying when you can just play something at the piano.
There’s so much repertoire available to fit any mood you’re in. From Jazz to Gospel, and even a lyrical Classical work, the piano is one of those instruments that allows you to do it all.
When it comes to therapeutic benefits this caters more to adults who play the piano. In fact, I have some adult students who see a ton of positives when they play duets with their spouses as a way to bring them together. Then, of course, there is music therapy where piano and other instruments are used in the medical field to help patients heal from traumatic experiences.
Because making good music such a focused experience, it’s a great opportunity to clear your mind from other distractions. If your child has a bad day, having them go play a few of their favorite songs at the piano is a great way to shift their attention to something positive.
12. Helps Boost Self Confidence
Playing the piano is no easy task, especially when it comes to putting on a public recital. That’s why it’s the perfect instrument for building self-confidence because recitals are a chance to show off all of that hard work.
A successful recital can be a very rewarding experience from a confidence and social standpoint. Most piano teachers set up recitals for their students at the end of Winter and Spring semesters.
Recitals are a great opportunity to perform for others and show off all the hard work. Most of the time recitals provide a positive experience, but some people have trouble getting nervous.
It’s completely normal to be nervous at first; especially for new pianists. Learning how to overcome piano performance anxiety is essential here so that future recitals can be a huge boost to your self-confidence.
13. Helps With Discipline
The only way to really improve at playing the piano is to be disciplined. This means consistent practice, attention to detail, and a high level of focus each time. The piano is a great instrument for developing this trait and it definitely carries over to other life projects too.
If you have young children who need to learn accountability and how to put true effort into something, learning a musical instrument like the piano is a great choice. Working with a private instructor allows for a safe environment to learn how to be more disciplined and get guidance along the way.
Most piano teachers have a high level of expectation from their students. They lay out a crystal clear plan of what the goals are and what steps your child will be taking to reach those goals. Playing the piano goes beyond lessons alone though, and it’ll take a certain level of commitment from the student in order to truly succeed.
14. Develops Good Posture
Have you ever realized just how bad your posture is when sitting down? Even if the chair has a back, most people don’t sit with the right kind of positioning. Ultimately this leads to future back problems and shifting of the spine. Thankfully, if you take up piano, you have a chance to work on good posture from the start.
In order to play the piano correctly you must sit straight up, shoulders broad and with your hands and arms parallel to the keyboard. Slouching at the piano or leaning too far back will not only lead to back problems but poor quality sound.
It’s also important that you know how high to sit at the piano so that you can play your best. After years of playing you’ll notice just how well you sit up whether it’s at the dinner table, a meeting, or just in your spare time at home. This is a small detail, but a major benefit for anyone playing the piano.
15. Improves Hand And Arm Strength
Playing the piano is a physical activity that involves a lot of arm movement and hand repositioning. With consistent practice, pianists see a great improvement in the strength of their hands and arms overall.
While this isn’t weightlifting, there are special muscles that are developed in the hands. In particular, the weaker fingers of the pinkie and ring fingers see a lot of improvement. As pianists develop more strength in their fingers and arms they become more agile at the keys.
Piano players also develop a stronger tone quality. Having stronger hands and arms is helpful in life when it comes to lifting objects, typing, writing, and other small activities. While piano doesn’t build the same core strength that weight lifting would, it’s still great for working in very specific areas of the hands and arms.
16. Offers Unique Career Opportunities
Perhaps one of the most unique benefits of playing the piano is being able to pursue a career with those talents. From being a concert pianist to being a teacher, there’s a wide range of things you can do with music.
With today’s technology, online piano lessons are becoming more popular these days, and it’s a great way to earn an income. Even if you don’t want to teach piano specifically, the music field as a whole is opened up with plenty of jobs in the public school systems, private institutions, college education, and music festivals.
While becoming a concert pianist is the most appealing of the professions out there, it’s not necessarily the easiest to break into. Thankfully there are plenty of options out there that still make use of pianists skills.
Pianists can use their problem-solving skills and venture off into very complex careers. Anything in business, management, math, or time-sensitive careers work well for pianists. That’s because of the amount of discipline it already takes to become proficient at the instrument. Pianists are also more likely to be accountable too and better candidates for hire.
17. Helps Improve Memory
One essential thing we all have is our ability to memorize. It’s a skill that we can train in a number of ways, and music just might be the most logical way to go about it. The better our ability to retain information, the more we can do.
Pianists more than any other instrumentalists spend a great deal of their time honing their memory and sightreading skills. If you’ve ever been to a piano concert then you’ll notice that they almost never read sheet music.
This is because pianists often have 10 – 20 pages of sheet music for a single piece vs a violinist who might just have 1 or 2 pages for something of the same length.
Because pianists can’t flip pages in performance without a page turner assisting, they choose to memorize everything. The benefits of memory at the piano is that they can be more artistic with their presentation.
Memory also allows for a greater connection to the music and allows pianists to feel out the audience and focus on other things like acoustics and technique. Some of the same memory practices I talk about here can also be applied to other life tasks.
From studying for an exam to settling into a daily routine, pianists are more likely to have improved memory overall because they practice the skill almost exclusively every day.
18. Improves Deep Breathing
A lot of times when we’re doing any sort of physical activity, we forget to breathe properly. That’s because our mind is so focused on the activity at hand, and this usually leads to shallow breathing.
Playing music offers some similar challenges, however, it’s much easier to recognize when we aren’t breathing properly and to make quick adjustments to it. This is mostly because when we don’t breath properly at the piano, our music ends up sounding shallow with a lack of sound quality.
Playing the piano is just like speaking a language. There’s phrasing, articulations and much more associated with making a piece sound truly authentic. All of this has to be choreographed with breathing and hand movements in order to be most effective.
When playing the piano, most of the time when we play we need to take a deep breath to set the tempo. Taking this deep breath also allows us to relax our bodies and release natural weight into the keys for a good sound.
I find that playing piano helps those who have issues with shallow breathing to recognize that issue and to make adjustments to it in other types of activities too. Piano also helps with breathing at various speeds and depths because of the variety of repertoire.
19. Math Skills
Reading and performing music is heavily dependent upon quick rhythmic calculations. Between quarter notes, eighth notes, rests, and subdivisions, and calculating the distance in intervals between notes, pianists are always working on complex musical situations.
Because a pianist often accompanies themselves, good timing is a strong trait for them to have. Pianists always make sure everything fits into the right spot so that the harmonies and rhythms line up perfectly.
Beyond just reading the notes, pianists are tasked with modifying the duration of those notes, making quick adjustments to tempo, and working on distance when leaping between octaves and chord changes with accuracy.
There are even quick calculations that occur when a note has an accidental or even when analyzing large harmonic changes. Pianists can aurally recognize the shift in frequencies and those with perfect pitch can make exact calculations of those frequencies without needing to see sheet music!
That’s why there is a strong connection between playing the piano and improved math skills. Math requires the ability to quickly discern what is happening and to come up with a logical solution. You have to be able to count, understand different values, and much more. When playing the piano it may not feel like math at first, but that’s exactly what’s going on.