I came across this article in “Psychology Today” the other day and it made me wonder just how many stories similar to this one are out there? Clearly, the woman who wrote this article had extraordinary obstacles to overcome and piano lessons were very beneficial for her to say the least. But for the rest of us, what are the far reaching benefits of piano lessons? And, does anyone who’s had the opportunity to take lessons ever stop and think what their life would have been like without them? There are literally hundreds of articles on the internet discussing music and the brain, music for coordination and spatial reasoning, music benefits for seniors, early music lessons boosting brain development and the list goes on and on… But, does something as basic as learning to play the piano really have an impact on our lives beyond brain function? Do piano lessons improve our quality of life? I say yes!
Even as a youngster, you choose friends you have something in common with. If that common bond is music and even more specifically, playing the piano, one automatically interjects themselves into a world of art and beauty; a world of performance and passionate mentors, a world who knows of the “Immortals”, respects who they were and how they changed society in their day. It’s a world where you work hard to conquer the masterpieces, you strive daily to improve your technique and take time to appreciate those who went before you. Your afternoons are spent at the piano, evenings and weekends allow trips to the library, local galleries, museums, perhaps even a concert or two with friends and family. Please don’t misunderstand me… A music filled life is not perfect, life happens. But, a music filled life, a life that includes lessons, learning, striving to master that difficult passage has purpose, has balance. A balance of work and play, family time and alone time, a time to learn and a time to teach, a time to give and a time to receive but is there ever time to waste? Is there ever time to plop ourselves down on the couch to watch one reality show after the other on television? Where is the balance here? Where is the learning, the striving? And, for those who choose this life, what kind of an impact does it have on them, on society in general? We already know the answer, we’ve all witnessed the result but still I shudder to even think about it. For Susan Barry, Ph.D., author of “Eyes on the Brain”, “Piano Lesson Can Have Far-Reaching Effects”, piano lessons obviously had an amazingly positive effect in her life. Piano lessons can have the same effect on us. We owe it to ourselves, our children and our elders to make time for music. Let’s embrace learning to play the piano, let’s not worry about stumbling at first or pushing the limits of our comfort zone. Let’s invest time in something that will have an impact on our quality of life for the rest of our lives.