These days, it’s no secret that music is good for the soul AND the brain! Of course there are emotional and communal benefits to listening, but there are even more when it comes to learning how to play an instrument for yourself. So why just play piano apps on the latest iPhone and punish yourself with more screen time when you can strengthen your mind instead? Technology is great….but it’s not always the best option.
Learning to play the piano is good for people at any stage of life! While many studies emphasize the importance of teaching children from an early age and encouraging music programs in schools, we hear from customers every single day who are jumping back into the hobby of piano playing for post-retirement enjoyment. And there are plenty of reasons why!
1. Knowing how to read and play music affects several facets of the learning process: sensory integration, awareness, critical thinking, emotional maturity and motor capacities. Just think – you see a succession of symbols across a page. You not only have to interpret what they mean, but you have to send the proper signals to your body to press the proper keys and produce a pleasant sound. There are a lot of skills involved in playing any instrument that provide skills affecting everything you do!
2. Playing improves memory. Most music that is played is often memorized. Even when you continue to use sheet music, muscle memory is important to maintaining correct hand forms and finger movements. The repetition involved in practicing any instrument – even your voice – encourages a strengthened ability to commit what you’ve learned to memory.
3. Music education in schools fosters self-esteem and a strong teamwork ethic. To create a beautiful and complete sound, members of a band or choir must learn to work together, but also each member must be confident enough to play loud and clear – and correct. Otherwise, the performance would be a mess. Knowing that you’ve contributed to something grand makes one feel accomplished and competent. Plus, participation is key. You can’t not be engaged – it’s too obvious if you’re tuned out! (ahem, pun intended)
4. Music education also has a strong correlation with increased test scores – especially in math and reading. While music classes may be more enjoyable for your child than lectures and note-taking, it has a way of seeping into other subjects as well. Whether you realize it or not, learning time measures, beats, note lengths….is math. And properly translating symbols into actions? That’s reading and comprehension. NAAM Foundation provides many statistics on the effects music in schools has had on everything from attendance rates to standardized test scores.
5. It’s a creative outlet. Rather than memorizing facts or mindlessly sinking into a game on the iPad, both children and adults can learn to express themselves through a talent. It will encourage new ways of thinking and interpreting, and can provide a relaxing effect on the stresses and rigors of everyday life – for life.
So in place of that new iPhone X (MSRP $999-1499)….what ELSE could you treat your family to this fall? We’ve got a couple ideas: