13 December 2018
Alec Coles-Aldridge looks at the positive effects of playing the piano on your body...
Have you ever thought about the positive effects of playing the piano on your body? We all know that playing the piano will improve coordination and fine motor skills, but have you ever been aware of the link between playing the piano and the human growth hormone? Or the benefits to your intellect?
1. Human growth hormone
Known as somatotropin, the human growth hormone is responsible for a range of functions including cell reproduction and regeneration. The hormone is essential for high-energy levels and cognitive functions such as memory. Luckily for the pianist, the act of playing the piano has been shown to increase levels of somatotropin!
2. Motor skills
A benefit that you are probably already aware of is an increased level of fine motor skills. Control over the hands and fingers is increased and the ability to coordinate movements is improved. For those who are in their infancy, the opportunity to develop these skills is essential. For those reaching the later years of their life, the piano offers a superb opportunity to help retain the fine motor skills that can be diminished as life progresses.
The piano manufactures Steinway attribute piano lessons to having improved a number of intellectual pursuits. They claim that “children who have had a few years of piano study under their belts can remember twenty per cent more vocabulary words than their peers.” In addition, Steinway claims “childhood musicians are better equipped later in life to retain information from speeches and lectures.”
4. Life lessons
The process of learning the piano teaches some vital life lessons. No matter what age you are, the values of perseverance, patience, dedication and discipline are essential. Playing the piano nourishes these values and teaches you the importance of calm methodical practice.
5. Effects on Dementia
This less obvious benefit is of crucial importance in a world where care for dementia patients will need greater and greater resources. Broadly speaking, music has been shown to drastically improve the ability of dementia patients to communicate and access memories that verbal communication can no longer reach. NHS England describes music as being able to “help reduce anxiety and depression, help maintain speech and language, help at the end of life and enhance the quality of life”. The piano is an instrument for accessing music and therefore it can unlock these benefits. The ability to play the piano as a carer or as a patient will bring comfort and joy.
The five benefits highlighted here are incredibly just a fraction of the long list of reasons as to why playing the piano is an absolute must. So, if you are already learning, keep going. If you are reading this article and considering whether to take up the piano, why wait? These five reasons are all you need.
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By Alec Coles-Aldridge. Alec is a graduate of the Royal College of Music with a Bachelor of Music Degree.