When practicing at home begins and there are stumbles and slips and it doesn't sound like much like music yet -
When as a parent you begin to hear, "I don't want to practice" and the battle to stick it out begins, you might begin to wonder, "Is this really worth it?"
Here are a few of the reasons why remaining in piano lessons through the ups and downs is a good choice for your child - and ultimately you as a supportive parent.
Children Do Better in School
Numerous studies over many years show that children who play an instrument, score higher on standard and cognitive development tests. Findings show that kids who play piano score higher in math because music and math are highly intertwined.
One particular study tested preschoolers who take piano lessons. The children who took lessons scored 34% higher than their non-musical counterparts in tests measuring the brain functions used to understand math, science and engineering. Many studies have shown that children who take lessons also demonstrate improved abilities in reading comprehension, logic and puzzle-solving.
Playing piano will enable your child to learn how to engage their short-term and long- term memory, as well as as learning organizational skills. Playing piano helps improve attention span and sharpens focus and concentration. Music training, some experts suggest, could even be a powerful tool for treating kids with cognitive disorders such as ADHD.
Self Esteem is Raised
Yes, learning to play the piano is hard work and takes dedication, however with each new skill and song learned, self-esteem is increased. Children begin to learn, "I can do it!" Showing what they've learned at recitals or when family and friends are gathered gives your child the same feeling of success as scoring a goal in a hockey game. This is good news for children who don't thrive in sports. The same lessons learned from the discipline of sport, can be learned in the discipline of music. Lessons such as how to positive attitude when the work ahead seems difficult and learning that mastering a new skill requires patience. These lessons are important for every child, so they can learn to approach tasks with confidence, and not become discouraged or frustrated.
Recently I read that a study done at Michigan State University shows that music training is emotionally beneficial. It showed that children who take piano lessons have reduced levels of depression and anxiety. Playing the piano can shut down the body's stress response, providing a sense of relaxation. My own personal experience has taught me that taking time out from a stressful situation to play piano can help to refocus, relieve stress and manage emotions.
Physical Co-ordination is Learned
Yes, piano will help increase your hand/eye cor-ordination, but there needs to be more than that because hand/eye co-ordination can also be learned by playing video games.
Piano allows students to improve their both their large and fine motor skills.
Also, the piano requires both hands to work independently, one moving fast while the other may be moving at a slower rate or different direction. It's like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time.
All of these things help to increase a child's overall dexterity and complex thought processes, that will prepare children for other areas of life - school, work, hobbies, dance and sport.
Ability to Concentrate is Increased
Learning an instrument teaches delayed gratification. Playing an instrument teaches kids to persevere through repeated practice before they reach short term and long term goals.
Reading a piece of music takes a great deal of focus- interpreting the black marks on a page to know a note and a rhythm, and then translate that into what their hands need to do on the keyboard. Reading and playing music allows them to think both critically and creatively, which is a skill that will assist them in anything they choose to tackle in the future.
Piano lessons teach children to sit and be quiet for designated periods of time, and to be attentive to what is in front of them without giving in to the distractions of what may be going on around them.
Social and Cultural Education is Gained
No matter how long a student takes piano lessons, there are many positive long term effects.
First and foremost, piano and theory lay an excellent foundation for any future musical endeavors, whether classical or current instruments and music.
The exposure to classical music to give them an appreciation for composers like Bach or Mozart will expand their minds, not only to understand music, but to the influences of history and society. More current compositions also open up a whole world of music from other cultures, which fosters an open mindedness to learn about other cultures and traditions than the one we have grown up in.
The final key benefit I'll mention is so important. Piano lessons offer a safe place for children learn to about accepting and being given constructive criticism. No one is perfect and every single one of us has room for improvement. Learning to be teachable is a lifelong skill that will help a person stand out and excel in any area of life.