If you are looking for more ways to enrich your life, adding musical skills is a great way to do so. Anyone can learn to play the piano, and this hobby helps with the development of skills that make will make you a more talented and cultured individual. In fact, playing piano has many health benefits, both mental and physical.
Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
- Improvement in the classroom – Those who participate in piano lessons tend to be highly intelligent in the classroom. Research done at McGill University in Montreal, Canada found that grade school students that studied piano for 3 years scored higher on test of general and spatial cognitive areas than their peers. These skills aid well in the mathematics area, therefore helping these students with their schoolwork.
- Improves neural connections – Neurons transmit and process information in the brain. According to a study performed at Northwestern University, playing piano adds to neural connections. Neural firings happen when music is being played, suggesting that playing instruments like the piano may hold the key to higher brain function.
- Broadens vocabulary – In a 2009 study published in the journal Psychology in Music, an in-depth experiment found that students that had music in their academic curriculum had significantly better vocabulary and verbal sequencing than those who did not.
- Reduces stress – Playing piano allows you to get away from the stresses of daily life and focus your mind on your technique and the music. One study revealed that those that chose to play the keyboard to relax had a significantly higher reversal of stress genes at the end of the study than those that chose other techniques. It was concluded that playing music such as the piano could become a rational stress reducing therapy recognized by health and fitness professionals.
- Foster hand/eye coordination – When playing the piano you often have to read as you play. This trains your eyes and hands to work closely together. You hands also develop independent coordination. Each hand performs entirely different movements and has to learn to work together stimulating multiple parts of the brain. Hand/eye coordination is a very beneficial skill to acquire for it can improve your reaction time and productivity. Through this activity you can also strengthen neural pathways between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
- Aids in language development – According to research done by San Raffaele University in Milan, Spain, children that learn music before the age of 7 have much larger vocabularies which aids not online in language development but in learning foreign languages as well. It has been found that adults with musical background such as piano training in their youth learned foreign language quicker and more efficiently than those that didn’t. The brain activity that is acquired at youth through music continues to benefit through adulthood.
- Increases human growth hormone – Playing piano can increase the production of HGH in an individual; particularly for older adults. Human growth hormones are linked to reduction of the aches and pains where feel that come with age. A study done at the University of Miami found that the test group of people who took keyboard lessons had significantly higher levels of HGH than the control group that did not. Increased HGH production leads to slowed progression of osteoporosis, increased energy levels, sexual function and muscle mass.
- Split concentration – Learning how to get your hands to work together may be difficult at first but as you practice it will become second nature. Playing piano allows you develop the ability to focus on multiple things simultaneously. To play the piano you must coordinate your hand movements as well as read the music in front of you which requires a lot of focus. The split concentration you develop from piano can be applied to life situations as well such as multi-tasking.
- Aural awareness – Many people that aren’t involved in any type of musical hobby may have difficulty recognizing different pitches and chords. Once you grasp the basic concept of playing scales and other technical routines you will be able to explore the different variations of sound, rhythm, and the complementary of melodies and harmonies. Aural awareness is not only good for your ears but is great exercise for your brain as well.
- Inspires creativity: Playing the piano requires you to be creative every time you play. Research done by Vanderbilt University psychologist found that musicians use a creative technique known as divergent thinking which requires you to use both sides of your brain. Every time you play you are using both sides to correlate your hands and read music. Exercising this technique constantly is why musicians tend to be more creative thinkers allowing them to be better able think outside the box when it comes to problem solving.