Playing the Piano Makes Your Child Smarter and Mentally Healthier
By Carole Hornsby Haynes July 15, 2022
Trillions of taxpayers dollars have been spent on public education yet American workers are the least well educated in the industrialized world. Advocates for universal pre-K claim we can make kids smarter by sending them to structured classes almost before they’re potty trained. Decades of studies show otherwise. The mental health crisis among students continues to worsen despite the primary focus of public education on social and emotional earning.
Here’s a superior solution for developing cognitive skills and a healthy mental attitude: playing the piano.
A study of 147 primary school children by VU University Amsterdam and ArtEZ Institute of the Arts at Zwolle in the Netherlands found children who took music lessons were more competent in other subject areas as a result.
In the two and a half year study, children with an average age of six were divided into four groups. The first group received school music lessons, the second group received school and private music lessons, the third received no lessons, and the fourth received only art lessons. Regardless of musical ability, the groups who studied school or private music lessons showed greater memory and vocabulary abilities.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Artur Jaschke, reported,
“Children who received music lessons showed improved language-based reasoning and the ability to plan, organise and complete tasks, as well as improved academic achievement.
“This suggests that the cognitive skills developed during music lessons can influence children’s cognitive abilities in completely unrelated subjects, leading to overall improved academic performance.”
An infographic created by Encore Music Lessons in 2014 cites scientific studies showing that playing the piano raises the IQ, increases focus and attention, boosts pattern recognition, enhances spatial organization, sharpens cognitive abilities, and refines motor control skills.
“After nine months of weekly piano or voice lessons, young students’ IQs rose nearly three points higher than those of their untrained peers.” (University of Toronto Study)
“Piano instruction is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children’s abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science.” (Neurological Research, February 1997)
“Students who received piano lessons scored 34% higher on tests indicating that music uniquely enhances higher brain functions required for mathematics, chess, science, and engineering.” (University of California, Irvine Study)
“Pre-school children given six months of piano lessons improved dramatically on spatial-temporal reasoning. Piano instruction dramatically enhances a child’s abstract thinking skills.” (California, Irvine Study)
Public schools have become centers for social and emotional learning, purportedly to resolve the mental health crisis among students – a problem largely created by the schools themselves. The fact is that social and emotional learning is a psychological manipulation to change student values and beliefs.
Playing the piano is a better solution – and without the leftwing indoctrination.
“Playing the piano reduces stress and anxiety more than other creative art activities.” (International Journal of Music Education, 2011)”
“Children who have taken three years of piano instruction have significantly higher self-esteem than children who are not enrolled in piano lessons.” (McGill University Study)
Steinway, the famed piano maker, notes on its website, “Studies show that time spent at the keyboard improves mental health: people who make music experience less anxiety, loneliness, and depression.” Piano playing is a widely used therapy for Attention Deficit Disorder.
Learning to play the piano requires patience and perserverance. Good pianists are masters of discipline. Piano playing is also a great social experience where students can play for a sing-a-long with friends, join a band, or play for a party or church.
Piano playing is a great total physical workout. Practicing an instrument strengthens the nerve fibers connecting the left and right sides of the brain. The brain and the body perform a number of simultaneous functions. Sight reading for the piano involves reading two lines of music, each in a different clef and with numerous notes stacked vertically. Both hands often play intricate rhythms independently from each other. Very few, if any, instruments use all 10 fingers. Pianists can play without looking at the keys (spatial). Pianists listen to the notes and adjust their playing accordingly. “Time” is kept by synchronizing and synthesizing all sensory input and motor activity. In addition, math is involved in division of the beats, such as quarter notes, half notes, 16th notes, etc. Pianists “interpret” music using the performance techniques of dynamics, articulation, rhythm, and expressive timing. Touch is used to determine the force required to press down the keys. Touch is used for the foot pedals. The back and arms are engaged as the pianist moves about on the keyboard and both feet are used to engage the pedals.
Many famous people have been piano players: actors Clint Eastwood, Sandra Bullock, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins, and Richard Gere; scientists Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison; Presidents Harry Truman and Richard Nixon; famous author Mark Twain and renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Piano lessons also mean success: Adults who studied music as a child land top jobs, get into the most competitive programs, and are healthier emotionally. Music majors comprise the highest percentage of accepted medical students (66%). Of Silicon Valley CEOs, 75% studied music as a child.
Piano lessons for children, whether private or school, was once a high priority for many families. Given the many beneifts associated with piano playing, it should become a priority again.