Playing the piano is a multi-level concentration activity. It involves using ten fingers, both feet, eyes, ears and your memory. It is widely thought that learning to play the piano as a child will train the brain to establish and strengthen neural connections, fine motor skills, memory and brain plasticity - the effects of which are said to last throughout your lifetime. Verbal intelligence, emotional intelligence, coordination, dexterity, discipline, patience and perseverance are just some of the attributes which may subsequently improve. Studies have shown learning to play the piano can help secure positive school exam results. For more information on the benefits of playing a musical instrument, please see this short TED video.
I often hear from adults of all ages the words, "I wish I had learnt to play the piano", but it is never too late. Learning to play the piano later in life has been proven to be beneficial. In healthy, aging adults, having musical training can help prevent memory loss and even reinforce motor skills within as little as six months. Playing the piano is linked to an increase in the Human Growth Hormone, which diminishes osteoporosis and benefits heart functions. Piano playing has been prescribed to stroke survivors.
Playing any musical instrument is an effective way to relieve stress, anxiety and reduce blood pressure. Piano playing in particular has been widely used to help manage ADD. It requires a degree of focus and repetition while learning a piece, after which playing can evolve into a profound, sensory experience. It can also give a sense of achievement, boosting self esteem.
When correct posture is taught, the piano, in comparison to several other instruments such as the violin and guitar, is a physically painless instrument to learn. You do not need to build up finger calluses, put strain on any part of your body or take an unnatural stance to play.
By taking graded music exams, you strengthen your C.V. If you are looking to pursue this route, I recommend taking exams with ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music). It is a recognised exam body by employers and universities, and ABRSM certificates count towards university UCAS points.
Playing any instrument is an impressive skill to have! It is rewarding to be able to share music with others, inspire others and it brings people together. It will provide you with a space for expression and it allows you to discover pieces of music and genres you may otherwise never have known about.