The other day I watched a TV series where the lead actor was a pianist and a very good one at that.
While watching the show, I could not help but notice the way the guy spoke and acted in his conversation.
His speech was articulate.
His mannerisms were just on point
And even the way he conducted himself and offered up solutions to problems was really good
So this got me thinking, Can playing the piano make you smarter?
As humans, there is nothing we want more than benefits
What’s in it for me as a person?
There is nothing worse than feeling like you are spending countless hours practicing and playing the piano and not seeing any advantages.
There is growing scientific evidence that playing the piano can actually make you smarter, happier and healtheir.
So in this article, I will be showing you some of the benefits of learning and playing the piano.
Can Playing The Piano Make You Smarter?
1. It accelerates your attention and cognitive skills
Learning how to play the piano means that your brain is on overdrive.
While this might sound like such a bad thing, it really is not
Think about it like this – can you imagine all the tasks your brain needs to perform simultaneously while playing the piano
Think of things like keeping on time, staying on pitch, forming new chords, maintaining your posture and maintaining your breath while your fingers move around the keyboard.
Also you might be operating the piano’s pedals while reading and interpreting sheet music at the same time
So everytime you sit down to play, you are ensuring that your brain capacity is increased and it manages all these functions easily.
So this makes sense, to be a master pianist you need to get to a level where you can easily juggle so many things at the same time while also playing beautiful music.
In my opinion, this is one way learning how to play the piano benefits your brain.
Related: Check out this article that I wrote on Can Piano Strings Break?
2. It helps with your language skills
Another way playing the piano helps you as an individual is that it helps your speaking and language skills
Researchers found out the musicians and people who play the piano are much better than people who do not in incorporating sound patterns for a new language into words.
What this means is that all those hours you spent learning how to play the keyboard and read sheet music will definitely pay off when learning a new language
Also your brain is primed to understand speech in a noisy background.
One thing to note is that for kids with speech impairment, learning disabilities and finding it difficult to focus in noisy backgrounds, learning how to play the piano will definitely help them get better and become more attentive.
I have found out that music classes like playing the piano use the same neural processes that are deficient in people with developmental dyslexia or those who have difficulty hearing speech in a noisy place.
Also here is an article I wrote on Can you store a piano in a garage?
3. It helps build your brain power
While we have talked about the mental demands of playing the piano, you should know that pianist brains are built differently.
Research and breakthroughs in brain scans and imaging have shown that playing the piano actually strengthens the right and left hemispheres of the brain, and makes the connections in the frontal lobe more efficient.
This means that as a pianist, you have a significant leg up over others in terms of problem solving, language, spontaenity, decision making and social behaviour.
I also read somewhere about a landmark study that was carried out on the effects of playing the piano as a kid before the age of seven.
It found that the “corpus callosum” or the axons that connect both sides of the brain, was unusually thick in the child pianists.
Schlaug’s work had some skeptics to start with, and for one thing, people claimed that there might be a confusion between cause and effect.
The corpus callosum might have been bigger initially in those subjects.
However, further studies have given yet more insight
4. It helps you think outside the box
Have you ever wondered how some certain people usually come up with brilliant ideas?
And for some other – ehn not so much
Well it has to do with the fact that their brains have been well developed
Now I am not going to specifically say that some people are better at coming up with ideas because they know how to play the piano
But what I will say is this learning how to play a musical instrument, especially the piano, goes a long way in helping you think outside the box and come up with unique ideas and opportunities.
A study was conducted by researchers at the University of Vanderbilt, and it was discovered that musicians and pianists have a unique proficiency in a creative technique called “divergent thinking”
This simply means they have the ability to come up with new solutions to open ended, multifaceted problems
Their work suggests that because playing music enhances communication between parts of the brain, musicians literally think about complex problems differently, and come up with more creative solutions.
And this has a wide range of benefits aside just playing the piano
Think of it this way – someone who is a convergent thinker will come up with limited solutions to a problems
He only sees things and solutions in a linear fashion, whereas a divergent thinker is looking for creative and simpler ways to get things done quicker and faster.
There are theories that even the style of piano you are playing can influence the way your brain is wired to think.
Music is one of the few disciplines that encourages improvisation and making things up on the spot.
This means that your brain is being asked to do a lot of things at once.
You need the factual, analytical data, such as the time signature, the key, and how to play specific notes, but at the same time, you are also using your brain in a creative way.
You might be wondering what to play next, and literally composing as you go along.
To watch someone improvise music is truly startling to a lot of us.
These people are undeniably more likely to become “convergent thinkers”.
Learning piano benefits your brain in a way that can’t be achieved by other disciplines.
Not a lot of things require you to be using quite so much of your brain, and this leads to finding solutions and “thinking outside the box” in ways others may not.
5. It increases your IQ by several points
If you have ever wondered to yourself how you can effectively increase your IQ, then you want to go get yourself a piano and learn how to play
Learning to play the piano has been proven to increase people’s IQ by at least 7 points.
And this has been found to be true in both children and adults
This is because, learning to play the piano has been linked to motor skills, hearing, storing audio information and memory increases in size as people learn to play the piano and become better at it.
It has also been shown that your normal day to day activities like being alert, planning your day and reading a book tends to improve when you start playing the piano.
Furthermore, it makes it easier to learn foreign languages due to improved recognition of tone and improvements in storing audio information.
By learning to play the piano, we are able to change the very architecture of our minds, whether we begin while we’re young or when we’re older, simply after a few months of playing for only an hour a week.
That’s right, just an hour a week is all it takes. Now if that isn’t mind-blowingly awesome, we just don’t know what is!
6. It positively affects your hormones
Playing music increases human growth hormone (HgH production among active older Americans).
Findings of a study revealed that the test group who took group keyboard lessons showed significantly higher levels of HgH than the control group people who did not play.
What this means is that as you start to play the piano and get better at it you find yourself having less and less cases of depression and anxiety.
It has been found and well documented that adults you played the piano had an increase in their self esteem and that they felt more independent.
One thing to note was that almost all the adults said that playing the piano helped them escape the stress and rigors of daily life.
In summary, here is what I will say – go learn how to play the piano
As a human and someone who is aware of your self importance, the best gift you can give yourself is the one that keeps on giving.
So if you can learn how to play the piano and watch your IQ and mental health climb and start getting better.