One of the first scribblings on my blog was this article, 10 Reasons to Play the Piano, which has since proved to be amongst the most viewed posts on this site. Several readers have written over the past few months asking for an even longer list, so I decided to expand on my original post, and have realised twenty various reasons to learn this demanding but ultimately fascinating instrument. We all now know playing the piano is a fantastic hobby and there are copious benefits from the study of a musical instrument. Here are twenty reasons (which appear in no particular order) to encourage exploration of this truly wonderful pastime:
1. Music creates happiness. It is central to human health and, for many, human existence. To be given the chance to make music is vital because it can supply an emotional and creative outlet.
2. Playing the piano is an excellent source of pleasure and fulfilment, providing a deep sense of satisfaction.
3. It’s believed that children (and adults) who take part in musical activities are happier and more sociable than those who don’t.
4. Music making bestows great opportunities for social interaction, group activities and communal endeavour.
5. Playing the piano can boost creative thinking.
6. Playing any instrument requires commitment, determination and perseverance; all great personal attributes.
7. Piano playing requires physical strength and regular practice, which is akin to working out; honing certain muscles, which can help to keep students fit and healthy.
8. The piano provides both melody and harmony, and can therefore be played solo without any accompaniment. This is not the case with many other musical instruments (like the clarinet or violin which only produce one musical line, usually the melody line, so an accompaniment or ‘backing’ is always needed).
9. It’s possible to make coherent sounds on the piano from the very beginning because it has ready-made pitches (you depress a key and it makes a sound). This is unlike other instruments where it can take many months of study before a pleasant sound is produced (this is especially true of brass and string instruments).
10. Mastering the piano requires a tremendous amount of co-ordination (you really do have to multi-task!) thus cultivating useful mental skills. It really focuses and develops the mind and can help motor development particularly the coordination of the hands, eyes and body.
11. The study of music is an extension of the learning process, so children who excel at piano playing often do well at school too. Music, specifically, can amplify and boost memory development, as well as enable a higher level of concentration.
12. Once a competent level has been attained, a plethora of other skills will appear ‘easy’ by comparison and problem solving becomes a natural process.
13. Those who study music usually have a more positive outlook and attitude, are often more motivated and less intimidated by learning new things.
14. Playing the piano proffers the perfect opportunity to perform. Performing is so important. It can build confidence – which, as we all know, is crucial for success in all walks of life.
15. Piano playing can develop into a passion and provide an interest in life; those who play will always have something to think and talk about.
16. If you can enjoy an all-encompassing hobby such as this, you will never be bored; there will always be something new and exciting to discover.
17. You can explore all kinds of music and repertoire when you’ve studied the piano basics; Jazz, Pop, Rock, Musical Theatre, Improvisation; the possibilities are almost endless.
18. It can be a relaxing activity, counteracting the stress of everyday life, procuring a sense of calm and well–being.
19. You will always be a popular guest at a party, and will instantly impress your friends and family!
20. It’s fun!
We should all have the opportunity to learn an instrument at some point in our lives. If every child was given school piano lessons for just one year, the benefits would be amazing. I sincerely hope everyone who wishes to learn to play can make a positive start to their musical journey and if you wish to know more about how to begin playing the piano, my book might be a useful way to begin; So You Want To Play The Piano?
All you need to do now is motivate yourself to get playing. Good luck and enjoy!
Image: So You Want To Play The Piano? published by Alfred Music.
For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my two-book piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, 49 progressive pieces from approximately Grade 1 – 8 level are featured, with at least two pages of practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.
You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.