“We do not play the piano with our fingers, but with our mind.” Glenn Gould
Playing the piano allows you to experience and connect with music in an intimate way. Instead of listening to someone else create the melody, you channel the music through your mind, heart, and muscles to create the melody yourself.
But playing the piano is more than just a fun experience; it also had a profound impact on your brain. As your fingers dance across the keys, you create an explosion of complex brain activity that changes the way you process and experience the world around you.
9 Ways Playing the Piano Benefits Your Brain:
While scientists still have much to discover about how playing the piano reshapes the brain, you can still reap all the benefits!
Here’s a list of 9 ways playing the piano benefits your brain to give you a snapshot of the amazing potential you tap into whenever you practice and perform.
- Enables your brain to process a lot of information from a lot of sources at the same time. This is developed through the simultaneous tasks required to play the piano, such as reading music, finding the right keys, and using the foot pedals.
- Develops a person’s ability to control their emotions and behavior, choosing what to express and when.
- Assists in the ability to filter external stimuli in order to focus on accomplishing a task. In layman’s terms, we call this having a greater attention span.
- One study on a group of elderly test subjects discovered that playing the piano decreased depression and activated positive emotions such as happiness.
- Helps overcome having a dominant hand, making the player more symmetrical. This happens by the brain literally reshaping its central sulcus. In non-pianists, this part of the brain is normally deeper on the right or left side depending on which hand is dominant.
- Reinforces the connections among the different parts of the frontal lobe, enabling your brain to become a better and faster decision-maker. The frontal lobe is a primary player in creativity, solving problems, multi-tasking, language skills, spontaneous expression, making choices, and social skills.
- As a player increases their skill, the part of the brain that controls fine motor skills needs less blood flow. This means being able to concentrate on the complexity of playing with less effort and energy.
- Stimulates more activity within the auditory cortex. This is the part of the brain that processes sound. Tests run on children found that this stimulation enhanced their responsiveness to sounds to the level of a child 2-3 years older.
- Improves your spatial-temporal reasoning. This is the ability to visualize 3-D objects moving through space and time to solve problems. This ability especially shines through in fields such as math, engineering, and architecture.
Although the full benefits of playing the piano are unknown, one thing’s for certain: it’s more than an enjoyable pastime or even a useful skill. Playing the piano can literally change your brain’s structure and operation.
So, the next time you’re looking for a brain boost, have some fun and make that piano sing!