The Many Benefits of Learning the Piano as an Adult
Because it's never too late
It’s 11pm on a cold Friday night. You’re in a restaurant. The meal is over and a few people are lingering over drinks. The pianist left a while ago and your attention drifts over to the black baby grand in the corner of the restaurant.
Nobody really notices you get up and check out the piano. Settling on the bench, you begin to pick out the beginning of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day”, gradually evolving the chords and finally getting into a rhythm. Your friends start to drift over to the piano to watch you play, and sing along.
Have you ever had this daydream?
Maybe you had some piano lessons as a child and didn’t stick with it? Maybe you never had the chance. But if you find yourself having this kind of daydream or leaning towards any piano you pass, you should seriously consider learning to play piano. There are some very valuable benefits of learning the piano which we’ll have a look at here.
It’s a Brain Work-out
Learning any musical instrument increases brain activity and health, but learning to play the piano is top of the list. This is because to play the piano, you have to use both hands and they are often doing two different things - maybe going in different directions, playing different rhythms in some cases, and therefore playing different notes at different times, within the same piece of music. This takes brain power.
Studies show that people who play the piano - at any age - develop a stronger link between the left and right side of the brain, as well as a strong frontal lobe.
You continually learn
Pianists are constantly solving problems within music. These problems include figuring out notes, rhythms, hand position changes, which finger is best to use where. Constant learning is going on when someone is practicing the piano, which is all creating stronger connections in the brain.
Boost your memory
Playing the piano boosts memory. All this exercise in figuring things out and repeating patterns over and over is linking neurons in the brain - whatever your age. Older people are often encouraged to do a daily crossword, but frankly, learning a new piece of piano music is like doing four crosswords at the same time.
Improve your quality of life
Studies have tracked older people while they are learning to play the piano over a four month period. A significant improvement was found in their mood and quality of life, as well as their cognitive function. When they compared the piano students to other older people taking lessons in art and sports activities, the piano students came out way ahead.
Ward off dementia
Studies have also shown that any cognitive activity can help to stave off Alzheimers and other types of dementia by up to 50%, with playing the piano again coming out as one of the top activities in effectiveness.
Ward off arthritis
Playing the piano when you’re older helps to keep arthritis away from your fingers, which is obviously a great plus. Even a little bit of the easiest piano music exercises your fingers. You don’t need to be performing Chopin and Liszt in order to get the benefit, or even practice scales.
Ward off depression and anxiety
Studies show that adults who play the piano tend to experience less depression, less anxiety, and higher self-esteem than those who don’t play the piano.
Bust that stress
Along the same lines, playing the piano is a great stress-buster. If you’ve ever played the piano - at any level - you’ll know that it’s very easy to lose yourself in the process and forget everything for a while. This is a very beneficial thing to do, particularly if you have stressful problems in your life. It can slow breathing, lower blood pressure and put you in a good mood. The whole world can slide happily away and you can find yourself so focused on the music that you forget an appointment or, like some of us, that you have something on the stove. If you cook and then go to the piano, set a timer!
Increase your social life
Playing the piano can make you the life and soul of a party, for obvious reasons. But more importantly than that, it can substantially increase your social life. A healthy social life goes a long way to staving off depression and isolation and even dementia. You could offer to play the piano for a local show, choir or church, which puts you right in the middle of a social setting. And one thing can lead to another.
Playing the piano is a fantastic thing to be able to do, and being part of a group accomplishing something musical is a wonderfully uplifting experience.
Earn some pocket money
As an added bonus, you could potentially earn money playing the piano. Many Musical Directors get paid for playing for Amateur Dramatic Societies, or church services. So that can be a very enticing added benefit to the social aspect.
So if you have ever dreamed of playing and always put it off - there are so many good reasons to get a piano and some lessons and treat it as a necessity in your life and an investment in your health.
So if you feel like it’s not too late to learn the piano, check out Skoove! It features very interactive lessons for everyone from beginner to advanced players. The app listens to your playing, gives you real time feedback and even waits for you to play the right note before going to the next one. Its step-by-step approach is designed to guide you along the way and let you achieve great learning goals. Try it now for free!
Author: long time music lover and professionally involved in the music industry for 7 years, Lucas has created Piano Dreamers to help others develop their love for music.