The most intricately and perfectly coordinated of all voluntary movements in the animal kingdom are those of the human hands and fingers and perhaps in no other human activity do memory, complex integration and muscular coordination surpass the achievements of the skilled pianists. ‘-
- (Homer W Smith from Fish to Philosophy)
Ever watched Yanni play ‘Renegade’ and feel a tug at your heart? What about Chennai’s Sweetheart, India’s treasure, Lydian Nadhaswaram? Did your heart race at the same speed his fingers ran over the keyboard playing ‘Bumblebee’? Did you feel wistful after that? Did your jaw drop when you watched Jerry Lewis in ‘Great Balls of Fire’ as he jumped on the piano setting it to fire? As you gaze out of your window on a rainy evening do you feel that your child is not smart enough to learn the keyboard/piano?
It is true that a lot of people believe that in order to play the piano you need to be smart but the truth is people become SMARTER after learning to play the piano.
Have you ever watched your favorite pianist closely, whether it’s Mr A R Rahman or Mr Anil Srinivasan and been intrigued. The unique element about playing this instrument is that it:
‘Gives a total brain workout’
The influences of playing the keyboard/piano
1. Cognitive Influences
It significantly enhances abstract reasoning skills required for learning math and science. It also enhances their ability to brainstorm and think out of the box. This freedom to explore and learn definitely leads to a beautiful journey of self-discovery. It also has a great impact on improving memory, concentration and focus. If you find that you can’t focus in school, then try playing the piano. While playing the piano, you need to focus on rhythm, tempo, pitch, volume, melody and harmony all at once. The complex way in which music stimulates brain activity has led the art to be a popular framework for scientists to study brain elasticity. There have been numerous studies on the impact of playing piano/ keyboard on cognitive function, mood and quality of life. Some studies have proven that it decreases depression and improves positivity.
It has become a common practice to treat ADHD with piano lessons.
It also stimulates the visual cortex and occipital lobe while reading music, which usually involves reading 2 lines at the same time, each in a different clef. The listening involved in piano playing involves the auditory cortex and temporal lobe. The act of playing involves the use of both hands that need to play intricate rhythms independently from each other. In short, the primary motor cortex, prefrontal cortex and cerebellum are exercised while you play a keyboard/ piano.
2. Emotional Intelligence and social intelligence
In many studies it has shown that college age children who play this instrument are more emotionally mature. They seemed to have higher self-esteem than other children. With enhanced communication and listening skills, they also displayed more enriched social experiences and outstanding teamwork. This art also offers adequate opportunity to improvise, create unique organic sound and style.
3. Language development
The Mozart effect showed early language development and spatial temporal intelligence could be boosted by keyboard/piano. A 1993 study in education psychology showed that the ability to discriminate between pitches is a fundamental ability and was linked to good reading performance. Besides that, the need to memorise music before performance, stimulates reading comprehension skills.
4. There is a definite link between Myelination and piano playing
Myelination refers to an increase in the fatty sheath surrounding neuronal processes and fibres that increases the efficiency of electrical transmission. Myelin allows for more complex brain processes thereby enabling nerve cells to transmit information faster. The process of myelination is very important for a healthy central nervous system functioning. As this process progresses, it gradually increases attention spans and improves the speed of processing information.
5. Development of aural skills – Having a musical ear
Learning the keyboard/piano helps you develop a keen sense of sounds and increased aural awareness. This could mean the ability to blend sound with others, keep a steady rhythm and pulse. These aural abilities are referred to as the ‘musical ear’. This helps pianists to keep time by synthesizing and synchronizing all sensory input and motor activities.
6. Reading music modifies spatial mapping
‘I have come to the conclusion that it (sight-reading) has something to do with the speed at which the visual image is converted into a muscular act’ and with some people the transformation is so rapid that a great deal of what happens escapes awareness – it just happens (Wolf, 1976)
Pianists also display great artistic interpretation. They have this innate ability to capture mood, style, tempo of a song using performance techniques such as dynamics, articulation rhythm and expressive timing.
Still not convinced about the magic of playing the keyboard/piano? Would it help to know that Aamir Khan, Sushmita Sen, John Evan (Jethro Tull) and Paris Hilton play this fabulous instrument? The latest gossip is that even our very own Mr. Ratan Tata joined the bandwagon recently.
So, join us, we have some amazing teachers waiting to share their knowledge with you. Check out our website for more details. Below are some amazing testimonials about our keyboard teacher Mr. Hariharan.
‘My favorite teacher is Mr. Hariharan. He is very kind and his teaching style is very cool. He is very polite and he speaks in a soft voice. He never gets angry with us. As we are learning online, these qualities make our teacher very good.’
‘I am a student of Mr Harihran. Playing the piano is my passion. Thank you, Hariharan Sir, for fuelling my passion. I can see you have a love for teaching. I really appreciate your kindness and patience. When I had a doubt, you took extra time to show me how to do it. ‘Watch the video till the end to listen to Lamia perform a song for her teacher.