Health Benefits of Learning Piano and Singing

Physical Benefits

 

Exercise – Playing piano and singing increases physical and mental activity.  One uses the entire body in the process including arms and back and everything else.  Singing is an energizing physical and cardiovascular activity! Pianists also work the arms and breathe with the music!

  • Posture – Good piano posture and healthy singing posture enhance strength throughout the body.  This builds good habits in other everyday environments.   Working on posture helps align the neck and back and prevents or relieves aches and pains in students of all ages.
  • Stress Relief and Emotional Outlet – Playing piano and singing songs energizes the mind and body enabling more focus on positive activities and thoughts, which helps with stress relief! Music practice helps improve healthier heart rates toward feeling better!
  • Deeper Breathing – Most of the time our breathing is very shallow, where singing requires deep breathing from the diaphragm. This strengthens your lungs and respiratory system.
  • Immune System Boost – When we learn to play piano or sing, we often become inspired! An article by Live Science,  states how music “enhances the immunological response, which enables us to fight viruses.”
  • Finer Hearing – Learning music enhances hearing abilities by increasing tone and sound awareness. This includes isolating sounds and distinguishing tones and pitch.  Studies have also shown how musicians can pick out specific voices and isolate sounds in a noisy environment.

Benefits for the Mind

 

  • Performance – Playing music is a workout for your entire brain and the muscles in the mind.  This process helps improve your memory skills and overall mental performance. In hospitals music can help the brain of patients recover from a stroke, as well as slow symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Concentration – While playing music one exercises deeper levels of concentration for longer amounts of time. We utilize all of our mind’s muscles in keeping focussed.  Doing this regularly allows us to become more adapt to concentrating on other tasks.
  • Coordination & Multi-tasking – Music is multitasking! Using our fingers, hands, and feet in rhythm continuously while singing,  or playing notes and chords can be a challenge for anyone.  Eye-to-hand motor skills become enhanced!
  • Reading Skills – Reading notes on a page helps strengthen our abilitiy to process information by making new connections of neurons in the brain. Reading and absorbing new information in other arenas becomes easier.
  • Listening Skills – Studying music enhances our ear muscles for hearing.  During practice in solo or in groups, one must listen for beats, expression of lines, and sing in tune with the group. This enhances hearing skills to be able to discern various sounds.
  • Time Management – Learning music requires practice and lots of repetitions! To become proficient it requires consistency and regularity of daily,  weekly, monthly and yearly routines. Figuring out how to put the time into music (along with all the other things going on in our world) and really sticking to it helps develop better organizational skills!
  • Mathematics – Music is very logical with numbers of beats in every measure, lengths of time for each note and other such calculation requirements. Being able to quickly recognize patterns and beats are all part of the mathematical framework of music.  Counting beats and rhythms means using math and logic skills continuously!

Emotional Benefits of Music

 

  • Self Expression & Emotional Healing – Like other forms of expression such as painting, dance, theater and writing, music enables us to express our inner most ideas.  While playing and singing we can express ourselves with our own unique personalities. We can also write something of our own to express ourselves somehow.
  • Self Identity – Everyone has a style of music they like,  so learning the art of piano and voice allows expression for any genre! Pop, Rock, Country, Jazz, R & B or anything else, it is all a form of expression. And with that expression comes a sense of identity!
  • Therapy – Playing piano music and singing can help with stress, insomnia, and depression because it is an outlet for how we feel.  Anytime we can let it all out helps us with just about every part of our lives.  It is healthy and soothing to sort through our problems and tough times through expression of music.  Playing music is like a vacation for the mind and emotions!
  • Achievement – When we finish a piece of music or when it is good enough to be performed, this brings a sense of satisfaction! Feelings of finality and accomplishment are healthy!  Setting goals is important in the process,  doing the work on the pieces brings a great sense of accomplishment!  This improves confidence in other areas of our world!
  • New Friends – Singing in a group, theater, band or choir and performing with others who are into music is a great way to make new lasting friendships!

by Richard Baldwin

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Articles and Blogs:

(Note: Articles are from linked sources and content is not affiliated with Baldwin Studios.)

 

Does Playing a Musical Instrument Make You Smarter?

Neuroscientists identify a link between musical training and executive function.

A new study from Boston Children’s Hospital found a correlation between musical training and improved executive function in both children and adults. Previous studies have identified a link between musical training and cognitive abilities, but few have looked specifically at the effects of early musical training on executive function.

Executive functions (EF) are described as high-level cognitive processes that enable people to quickly process and retain information, regulate their behaviors, make good choices, solve problems, plan and adjust to changing mental demands. Another component of EF is having cognitive flexibility as represented by the ability to adjust to novel or changing tasks on demand.

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Musical Training Optimizes Brain Function

Musical Training Optimizes Brain Function” I write about previous research that found musical training can cause fundamental changes in both the structure and function of a young person’s brain.

 

Three Brain Benefits of Musical Training:

  1. Musicians have an enhanced ability to integrate sensory information from hearing, touch, and sight.

  2. Beginning training before the age of seven has been shown to have the greatest impact. The age at which musical training begins affects brain anatomy as an adult.

  3. Brain circuits involved in musical improvisation are shaped by systematic training, leading to less reliance on working memory and more extensive connectivity within the brain.

Adult musicians and musically trained children in the new Boston study showed enhanced performance on several aspects of executive functioning. On MRI, the children with musical training showed enhanced activation of specific areas of the prefrontal cortex during a test that made them switch between mental tasks.

More specifically these brain areas included: the supplementary motor area, the pre-supplementary area and the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. All of these brain regions have been linked to executive function. Interestingly, enhanced brain activation was also apparent within other brain regions that are not traditionally directly linked to executive function including the insula and cerebellum.

Neuroscientists are discovering multiple ways that musical training improves the function and connectivity of different brain regions. Musical training increases brain volume and strengthens communication between brain areas.

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Musical Training Might Improve Academic Achievement

The researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital conclude that children and adults with extensive musical training show enhanced executive function when compared to non-musicians, especially for cognitive flexibility, working memory, and processing speed.

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Music and health

Harvard Health Publications – Harvard Medical School

Music is a fundamental attribute of the human species. Virtually all cultures, from the most primitive to the most advanced, make music. It’s been true through history, and it’s true throughout an individual’s lifespan. In tune or not, we humans sing and hum; in time or not, we clap and sway; in step or not, we dance and bounce.

The human brain and nervous system are hard-wired to distinguish music from noise and to respond to rhythm and repetition, tones and tunes. Is this a biologic accident, or does it serve a purpose? It’s not possible to say. Still, a varied group of studies suggests that music may enhance human health and performance.

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