Benefit of Piano Playing




Did You Know?

Middle school and high school students who participated in instrumental music scored significantly higher than their non-band peers in standardized tests. University studies conducted in Georgia and Texas found significant correlations between the number of years of instrumental music instruction and academic achievement in math, science and language arts.

Source: University of Sarasota Study, Jeffrey Lynn Kluball; East Texas State University Study, Daryl Erick Trent

Did You Know?

Students who were exposed to the music-based lessons scored a full 100 percent higher on fractions tests than those who learned in the conventional manner. Second-grade and third-grade students were taught fractions in an untraditional manner ‹ by teaching them basic music rhythm notation. The group was taught about the relationships between eighth, quarter, half and whole notes. Their peers received traditional fraction instruction.

Source: Neurological Research, March 15, 1999

Did You Know?

Music majors are the most likely group of college grads to be admitted to medical school. Physician and biologist Lewis Thomas studied the undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. He found that 66 percent of music majors who applied to med school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group. For comparison, (44 percent) of biochemistry majors were admitted. Also, a study of 7,500 university students revealed that music majors scored the highest reading scores among all majors including English, biology, chemistry and math.

Sources: “The Comparative Academic Abilities of Students in Education and in Other Areas of a Multi-focus University,” Peter H. Wood, ERIC Document No. ED327480

“The Case for Music in the Schools,” Phi Delta Kappan, February, 1994

Did You Know?

Music study can help kids understand advanced music concepts. A grasp of proportional math and fractions is a prerequisite to math at higher levels, and children who do not master these areas cannot understand more advanced math critical to high-tech fields. Music involves ratios, fractions, proportions and thinking in space and time. Second-grade students were given four months of piano keyboard training, as well as time using newly designed math software. The group scored over 27 percent higher on proportional math and fractions tests than children who used only the math software.

Source: Neurological Research March, 1999

Did You Know?

Research shows that piano students are better equipped to comprehend mathematical and scientific concepts. A group of preschoolers received private piano keyboard lessons and singing lessons. A second group received private computer lessons. Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34 percent higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than the others ‹ even those who received computer training. “Spatial-temporal” is basically proportional reasoning – ratios, fractions, proportions and thinking in space and time. This concept has long been considered a major obstacle in the teaching of elementary math and science.

Source: Neurological Research February 28, 1997

Did You Know?

Young children with developed rhythm skills perform better academically in early school years. Findings of a recent study showed that there was a significant difference in the academic achievement levels of students classified according to rhythmic competency. Students who were achieving at academic expectation scored high on all rhythmic tasks, while many of those who scored lower on the rhythmic test achieved below academic expectation.
Source: “The Relationship between Rhythmic Competency and Academic Performance in First Grade Children,” University of Central Florida, Debby MitchellDid You Know?
High school music students score higher on SATs in both verbal and math than their peers. In 2001, SAT takers with coursework/experience in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 41 points higher on the math portion than students with no coursework/experience in the arts.

Source: Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, compiled by Music Educators National Conference, 2001.

Did You Know?

College-age musicians are emotionally healthier than their non-musician counterparts. A study conducted at the University of Texas looked at 362 students who were in their first semester of college. They were given three tests, measuring performance anxiety, emotional concerns and alcohol related problems. In addition to having fewer battles with the bottle, researchers also noted that the college-aged music students seemed to have surer footing when facing tests.

Source: Houston Chronicle, January 11, 1998

Did You Know?

A ten-year study, tracking more than 25,000 students, shows that music-making improves test scores. Regardless of socioeconomic background, music-making students get higher marks in standardized tests than those who had no music involvement. The test scores studied were not only standardized tests, such as the SAT, but also in reading proficiency exams.

Source: Dr. James Catterall, UCLA, 1997

Did You Know?

The world's top academic countries place a high value on music education. Hungary, Netherlands and Japan stand atop worldwide science achievement and have strong commitment to music education. All three countries have required music training at the elementary and middle school levels, both instrumental and vocal, for several decades. The centrality of music education to learning in the top-ranked countries seems to contradict the United States' focus on math, science, vocabulary, and technology.

Source: 1988 International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IAEEA) Test

Did You Know?

Music training helps under-achievers. In Rhode Island, researchers studied eight public school first grade classes. Half of the classes became “test arts” groups, receiving ongoing music and visual arts training. In kindergarten, this group had lagged behind in scholastic performance. After seven months, the students were given a standardized test. The “test arts” group had caught up to their fellow students in reading and surpassed their classmates in math by 22 percent. In the second year of the project, the arts students widened this margin even further. Students were also evaluated on attitude and behavior. Classroom teachers noted improvement in these areas also.

Source: Nature May 23, 1996




1.Piano playing increases coordination. In order to play piano, your hands must develop independent coordination. This is one of the basic ways to keep your mind sharp. Each hand must often perform entirely different movements, and the brain must tell each hand what to do. By learning separate hand coordination, you stimulate several different areas of the brain. Practice each hand separately, and then combine the movements of each hand.

2. Piano playing increases hearing awareness. Not everyone is born with a good sense of pitch, but people can develop it through exposure and practice. When you play piano, you train your ear to hear pitches and tones in relation to one another. This makes developing a sense of relative pitch possible. Intervals stimulate your mind in slightly different ways. A perfect fifth will cause one reaction in your brain, while a seventh will cause an entirely separate reaction. This trains the mind to recognize pitches and intervals, even if beneath the level of the concious mind.

3. Sight reading offers the brain another workout, as the eyes must follow the music while the hands play it. The ability to sight read is similar to knowing a foreign language, yet also requires extreme hand-eye coordination. The eye muscles are also strengthened as they move up and down the staff across the page.

4.The analysis of musical passages and learning the theory involved is another mental exercise when you play piano. It's brain food at its finest. Chords, melodies, and changes are all rooted in complex musical theory. It pays dividends to learn and understand how music is put together.

5. Piano playing increases social participation. When you play piano in the presence of others, you are participating in a valuable social exercise. History is filled with participants and spectators in the world of music. You have the ability to make others' time more enjoyable. You also meet other musicians who can share knowledge with you, expanding your understanding of the piano.

6. Proper piano playing, whether done for leisure or profession, keeps the fingers nimble. It strengthens all the muscles of the hands, which helps in other lines of work. A maintenance man with strong hands is more valuable than one with weak digits.

7. Besides all this, piano playing is great fun. It lets you create your own tune for the day. The piano has provided society with over a hundred years of enjoyment and will do so for hundreds more. It's not only an instrument; it's a social communication tool and a brain exercise, as well.


.Seven Ways Piano Playing Benefits Your Brain
Scientific Evidence

Perhaps the greatest benefit of having a piano in your life is also the one we've known about the longest--the uplifting effect it has on your spirit. When you sit on that bench and open the keyboard cover, you tap into a powerful way to communicate emotion, enliven a gathering or just relax.

Just beneath the surface, however, the piano is much more than that. For example, a recent study at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, demonstrated that grade-school children who took piano lessons for three years scored higher than their peers on tests of general and spatial cognitive development--the very faculties needed for performance in math, engineering and other pursuits.

Other scientists are finding similar results. A University of California at Irvine study showed that kids who took piano lessons along with computer puzzle-solving did better in math. Among older Americans, according to a Michigan State University research project, keyboard lessons significantly reduced anxiety, depression and loneliness.

In fact, researchers probing the inner workings of the brain have found neural firing patterns that bear a remarkable resemblance to music--suggesting that music may hold the key to higher brain function.

Playing the piano is also an excellent way to strengthen eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills, and kids who take piano lessons learn a lot about discipline, dedication and the rewards of hard work.

For so many people, having music in their lives means having a piano in their homes. And while the piano is beefing up your brain, it's adding beauty to your home, joy to your entertaining and a lasting investment to your life.

But when you sit down to play, it's okay if none of these other benefits crosses your mind. For three hundred years, the simple joy of making music has been all the reward a piano player ever needed. For most of us, it's still enough.


The Emotional and Intellectual Benefit of Piano Playing
Studio location: 250 Salem Street, Revere MA

--It has ample park lots. Bus 426, 426W, 428, 429 stops right in front of the property.

--The house is right off route 1, near the Malden/Revere fire department)

Studio phone: 860-377-2603
Studio e-mail: [email protected]