Playing the piano makes you smarter?
Think about it: an instrument is intellectually demanding, so of course it has this power…
Improving your intelligence is never the main reason anyone learns to play the piano or music in general.
You’re attracted to the beauty of the instrument and love piano music.
So much so that you deal with the drudgery of piano lessons.
But, in the end, if this stringed instrument has the capacity to boost your IQ and cognitive abilities… that’s a great supplementary reason to learn to play the piano, isn’t it?
As you’ll see, a number of studies have been done that prove the phenomenon.
Starting with the famous “Mozart Effect.”
To learn more, don’t waste any time reading our 10 scientific reasons to play the piano.
Learning the piano makes you smarter?
Over the years, a number of studies have been done to investigate the benefits of the grandest instrument of them all on your health, well being, and intellectual abilities.
If you’re curious about them, we assure you that you can find dozens of them online.
The Mozart Effect: Almost undeniable proof that the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart makes you smarter.
Have you heard of the “Mozart Effect”?
Named for the genius of the piano and classical music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), it has become a sort of neuro-musical phenomenon… In 1993, the scientific community, represented by Rauscher, Ky, and Shaw used classical music to explain what they called the “Mozart Effect” in an article published in Nature magazine.
The three scientists argued that many students who’d participated in their research, in which they listened to a sonata by Mozart before being tested, proved to be better at solving spatial tasks.
The effect, however, does dissipate after some time (about an hour). But the fact remains that playing the piano, and especially Mozart, makes you smarter.
Why teach children to play the piano?
In 1997, a similar study was conducted with children, and showed that music lessons enabled them to enhance their “spatial reasoning” abilities. One year later, another experiment was conducted on lab rats, who were exposed to piano music by Mozart as they grew up, and who performed better than other rats in mazes.
So playing the piano, playing Mozart, helps you increase your intelligence?
The legend of the “Mozart Effect” has been spreading around the world ever since, becoming a sort of myth. We should note that the scientific community has since expressed skepticism of the alleged proof.
One such example is research done by Christopher Chabris, a neuroscientist who, in 1999, conducted sixteen studies of the phenomenon.
He eventually concluded that the effect is too weak to be valid. But that didn’t stop certain people from believing that learning to play Mozart on the piano makes you smarter.
Day care centers in Florida and housewives in Washington all began making their babies listen to the composer.
1. Learning to play the piano “rewires the brain.”
What do you mean when we say that “learning to play the piano rewires the human brain”?
Is it, for example, a direct effect on the neurons?
Scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago have undertaken a study of the large body of research on the benefits of music on health and well being.
And according to them, playing the piano is not only a hobby, but a way to become more intelligent.
In effect, learning to play the piano or any musical instrument and its associated techniques creates new neural connections!
Connections that wouldn’t have been made without playing the piano…
Their findings were published in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience, with the conclusion: learning to play music has a profound impact on our abilities to learn languages, on our concentration, our memories, and even our emotions.
2. Looking for a piano method that improves well being and reduces stress?
How you’ll feel sitting at your piano after a long day of work.
Multiple studies have attested to the benefits of music for stress relief: the piano is good for your health. It helps you decrease stress, everyday anxieties, and find a sense of calm.
Learning to play the piano seems to be a remedy that’s just as powerful as exercise!
But for other reasons.
Primarily because it forces the pianist or other musician to concentrate on the task at hand and not think about anything else.
Music is a demanding discipline that doesn’t leave room for distractions. The pianist has to focus on breathing, notes (whole, half, quarter, eighths), music theory, harmony, intervals, minor scales, and rhythm. There’s nothing like it to help you forget your stress.
You should also know that learning to play the piano and practicing every day produces a variety of enjoyable sensations. Being able to master the art form and hearing a melody created by your fingers produces a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Science has also taken on this stress-reducing issue, notably by offering workers in demanding jobs regular music lessons. The result: fewer burnouts and an overall increase in happiness!
3. Learning the piano improves memory and cognitive abilities
We’ve known for years that learning to play the piano and music in general improves our intellectual abilities. So it makes sense that we’re seeing scientists further investigating in order to see what else it does.
And researchers have concluded that listening to music and playing an instrument also improves memory functioning.
22 children, between the ages of three and four-and-a-half, were administered a test. 15 of them were given piano lessons, with a professional piano teacher at their side, while the remaining 7 received singing lessons.
In the end, several weeks later, it turned out that the 15 piano students had improved their temporal-spatial abilities by 34%.
The online magazine Telegraph recently reported this: “New research suggests that regularly playing an instrument changes the structure of the human brain and, moreover, augments its capacities. Music could be used as a form of therapy to help patients improve memory ailments.”
Learning to play the piano is like deciphering a new language: the scales and all of the notes that make them up.
Notes (whole, half, in the key of G, in the key of F, intervals, minor scales, music theory, harmony…) that represent not jusy a place on a piece of sheet music, but a key on the piano, as well as a precise note to the ear.
4. Music, theory, and the piano all instill a sense of perseverance
Learning to play the piano with a private piano teacher or in a music school demands a certain amount of perseverance.
First because you must learn the basics of music theory in to get going with piano lessons.
For at least one or two years, depending on your age.
And then there are several years of piano lessons that are indispensable if you want to become a real pianist. Music and the piano are very demanding disciplines, whether you’re gifted or not.
So if you aren’t naturally the type to persevere, playing the piano will teach you to become a hard worker very quickly. When you have the ambition to play the piano perfectly, patience and perseverance are very useful weapons. Otherwise, you’ll abandon it too soon…
5. Playing the piano increases mind-body coordination
Coordination on the piano is all about being able to play with both hands!
Beyond a musician’s ability to create music himself and improvise, the artistry comes from coordination.
It’s an act of coordination between the mind, the eye, and the hands. The pianist, seated at his or her instrument facing the sheet music, needs to be able read and decipher the rhythm and the music beneath his eyes. Read sheet music for the piano. Instantaneously, the notes and chords indicated need to be transformed to movements on the piano, in very precise positions. And the proper notes need to played the right way.
And bear in mind that you’re using both hands: the right and the left!
This type of coordination can be innate, or it can the fruit of proper training and good piano lessons.
6. Learning to play the piano helps improve your reading comprehension
Learning music theory before playing the piano and learning about music is essentially like coming face to face with new language. A language made of notes, chords, keys (the key of G, the key of F), intervals, harmony, and rhythms all to be able to read sheet music. The journal Psychology of Music has sought to learn more about music’s ability to make you smarter. And especially in terms of reading comprehension.
“Children who take music lessons over the course of several years, with extensive training in rhythms and tone, display superior reading comprehension skills compared to their non-musician classmates.”
Playing the piano requires constant reading of sheet music, notes, and chords. Identifying whether it’s a whole note, half note, or a quarter note, or if there’s a change in rhythm definitely makes you more intelligent!
7. Learning about the piano is a way to study centuries of musical history!
Classic music and the piano offer musicians centuries of history and culture. From Bach to Beethoven, with Debussy, Vivaldi, Brahms, Chopin, Haendel, Schubert, Verdi and others in between… You’ll learn about the greatest composers!
Learning to play the piano is not limited to classical music, either. It’s also a way to learn about the blues, jazz, folk, R&B… Why not investigate the original creation of this stringed instrument, its evolution from the clavichord, an instrument with four octaves?
Get to know the considerable oeuvre of Bach.
We can find the first traces of an ancient form of the grand or acoustic piano in 1709. With creation of an instrument that could be played “piano” or “forte” (“gentle” or “strong”). It was improved upon by the German Gottfried Silbermann in 1728, and then tested by the illustrious Johann Sebastian Bach.
8. Learning music helps you get better grades in school
Looking at all of these different points that prove that playing the piano makes you smarter, we can conclude that the instrument can help you get better grades in school.
Take for example the fact that it improves reading comprehension. Or that it improves your memory, or creates new neural connections.
Learning to play the piano and its techniques also enhances your abilities to learn a new language. Music theory is its own language. Perhaps the first you’ll learn beyond your native language. Knowing music theory is thus the first sign of your capacity to speak another language.
There are so many encouraging indications that learning to play the piano will help you get better grades in school! In languages or the physical sciences!
9. Playing the piano also requires discipline
Learning to play the piano takes several years. Perseverance and patience are thus indispensable qualities, as we’ve already said. But that’s over the long-term.
For the short-term, apart from having patience as you get to know the piano, you must display some discipline.
You will not be able to learn difficult songs on the piano if you’re unorganized or don’t utterly respect the melody indicated on the sheet music.
You must also be diligent with your piano lessons.
Playing the piano is not just alongside your music teacher. Becoming a pianist means regular practice outside of the time spent with your teacher! Hours of your free time take up with practice, time you can’t spend relaxing or hanging out with your friends. A requirement that demands a great of discipline, which you’ll be able to utilize in a number of other realms, such as work.
10. Paradoxically, learning to play the piano improves your social life…
Learning to play the piano can also lead to this: tons of new friends ready to adore you!
Contrary to what you might be thinking, learning to play the piano will develop your social intelligence. Even if the instrument is often played alone, it still requires a serious amount of training with a teacher. Beginner pianists often enroll in classes at a music school where they learn about music theory with many other piano students.
But playing songs on the piano doesn’t need to be an art that your practice alone.
Later on, the instrument could be used to join a band or at the very least to play with friends.
And why not give concerts, too, in front of an adoring public?
Put your brain to work and play the piano!