How Playing The Piano Develops Your Children’s Brain
Playing piano is a fun activity for children. But in this article I want to dig deeper. I want to get into the kid’s heads, literally, and see what piano training does to their brains.
Thanks to scientific advancement and research, we have discovered how musical training from an early age literally changes the physical structure of the brain. Musical activity is very stimulating, and the benefits stay with the children during their whole life.
How the brain changes itself
Neuroplasticity is the mechanism the brain uses to change itself. It is what allows us to learn anything. The brain rewires its own circuits, creating new neural pathways, to make us better at what we are trying to accomplish.
A study showed that adult subjects exhibited brain plasticity similar to a child’s, after learning to juggle. It also said that the brain returned to normal after they stopped practicing. This means they had to keep practicing in order to benefit from the increased brain function.
It’s the same with piano. Learning to play piano makes you better at learning anything, because it opens up neuroplasticity in the brain. And if you learn it as a child, and keep the practice later on, you will have an enhanced capacity to learn for life.
Brain and music
Studies have shown that, after a child practices piano for as little as 5 months as a beginner, the corpus callosum (the bridge between both hemispheres of the brain) grows compared to non-musical kids. This is even more pronounced if it happens before reaching 7 years old. This ensures better communication between left and right brain hemispheres, which improves problem-solving, language, spontaneity, decision making, and social behavior. Two-handed instruments (such as piano) are the ones that cause stronger benefits.
There have been many more studies that showed that learning piano at a young age can increase IQ as much as 7 points, and can also help with multitasking and concentration.
Probably the best thing about this is that all these brain benefits carry over to non-musical activities. Parents will be happy to know that piano can improve their children performance at school.
There is a direct correlation between the amount of time that a kid has been receiving music instruction, and their academic achievement. Musical training helps with memorization, and the children outperform their peers in testing, motor proficiency, pattern recognition and problem solving. Some of these after just seven months of instruction.
Learning to read music also trains their language-reading skills, especially for second language learning. After a few years of piano, they remember 20% more vocabulary than their classmates. In later years, it has been proven that they also have better retention from speeches and lectures.
Playing the piano also develops spatial-temporal faculties, which are directly related to better performance at solving complex problems in math, science and engineering.
Apart from academic excellency, it’s been proven that the more that a child trains in an instrument, the better their attention skill, anxiety management and control of their emotions. Even very little training demonstrated social development benefits.
Due to the nature of music itself, it increases performance on a wide variety of listening tasks, such as the sequencing of verbal information, detecting slight pitch variations in spoken language and the emotions conveyed by prosody (the melody and rhythm of speech).
I hope you understand the huge favor you can do to your children by getting them to play piano. It is a fun and engaging activity, certainly more fun that regular homework… So I would like to conclude by strongly encouraging you to try one of our teachers and see the benefits yourself. You won’t be disappointed.