5 Reasons Why Playing Piano Is a Brain Booster
Most people play the piano because it is great fun. Playing an instrument however is more than just a wonderful hobby. When you practice or just play song on your piano your brain is running at full speed. Many areas of your brain are activated which also has positive long-term effects and improves some important skills. If you need more reasons to get (or to stay) motivated, maybe these five reasons will help you.
1. Playing piano enhances your coordination
When playing the piano, you develop the skill of independent coordination. At times, your left and your right hand need to execute totally different movements. Your brain has to tell each hand separately what to do and how to move. This is really brain-jogging at its best. Learning to play separate hand movements at the same time stimulates different areas of your brain. Being able to read sheet music also improves your hand-eye coordination. And I am sure you can imagine other situations in life when it’s quite useful to have good hand coordination. ;-)
2. Piano playing increases your listening skills
It is quite obvious that you need to listen carefully in order to play a certain piece of music or song. Only if you are able to remember how it should sound will you be able to correct yourself. Of course, not everybody is born with an absolute pitch, but it’s something that you can practice. At the beginning, it helps to hum the song that you are about to learn before you actually start to play it on your keyboard.
These listening skills also benefit your verbal memory in your own language and enable you to better recognize voices in a noisy environment. This is very handy when you’re out with your friends trying to have a conversation in a busy café or restaurant.
3. Playing piano improves your reading skills
Notes on a sheet are like letters in a book. Both are symbols that need to be “decoded” and put together to make sense of the entire text or song. Therefore, learning how to read music trains your language-reading skills at the same time. This was proven by a study published in the journal Psychology of Music (if you want to read more about it, click here). However, since you are reading this post, I assume that you don’t need any improvements in this area, but still -- it’s a nice fact to share.
4. Playing the piano enhances your language skills
Learning a foreign language is closely related to the reading and comprehension skills that I just mentioned. Reading sheet music and “translating” it into hand movements can be compared to learning a foreign language. Studies have shown that kids who were taught to read music also did better when learning foreign languages. Even if you start as an adult, playing an instrument will benefit those skills. However, the improvements might not occur to the same extent that they do in children.
The enhanced language skills also may be related to the increased listening skills that musicians have. Playing the piano makes it easier for you to pick up the melody of a foreign language and distinguish where a word starts and where it ends. If you have ever tried to learn French, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about…
5. Playing the piano improves your mathematical ability
Notes and rhythms, as well as music theory, are based on math. Reading music and counting rhythms require math skills. Studies have shown that students who play an instrument usually perform better in math tests than students who don’t.* Playing the piano, however, is much more fun and also more entertaining than doing a math quiz.
And have you ever caught the attention of an audience by saying “Hey, watch me solve this Sudoku?”
Playing piano may not turn you into Albert Einstein, but it surely benefits your brain. So despite the fun aspect, there are also many other, more “reputable” reasons to start.
*source: Friedman, B., (1959). An evaluation of the achievement in reading and arithmetic of pupils in elementary schools instrumental classes. Dissertation Abstracts International, 20, pp. 3662-3663.)