How Playing Piano Benefits Your Brain

April 10, 2015

According to Lacefield Music, over the years, researchers have studied how playing music affects your brain. Although answers aren’t yet fully explained, a few certainties have been established. Playing the piano or another instrument can positively impact your mind, especially if you start playing as a child. 


Studies Show that Playing Music Affects Your Brain


Recently, a study conducted by Nina Kraus’ Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University revealed that musicians suffer less aging-related memory loss and hearing loss than non-musicians, according to Playing Music Protects Memory, Hearing, Brain Processing. The study indicates that playing a musical instrument is key to retaining memory as well as hearing.


“As a musician, you get very good at pulling out important information from a complex soundscape,” Kraus said. She continued, “that’s really not all that different from hearing your friend’s voice in a noisy restaurant. That involves hearing, but it’s related to how quickly you can process information and how well you remember it.”


The “musicians” in Kraus’ study showed measurable differences from the “non-musicians” in overcoming the brain’s natural tendency to receive, process and act upon auditory signals more slowly with age.


Other Benefits Suggest that Playing Music Affects Your Brain Positively, Too


Whether you prefer a flute, guitar, piano or other instrument, playing music affects your brain in ways that simply listening to music cannot. Playing music:

  • builds hand-eye coordination.

  • strengthens math skills through counting notes and rhythms, and learning music theory.

  • improves reading and comprehension skills over years of training (according to a study discussed in 18 Benefits of Playing a Musical Instrument).

  • enhances concentration by requiring you to focus on pitch, rhythm, tempo and notes.

Obviously, encouraging your child to play a musical instrument can significantly help cognitive development that will pay off for years to come. But even if you are considering learning to play an instrument as an adult, playing music offers other benefits like:

  • building confidence and perseverance.

  • inspiring creativity and emotion.

  • Helping to relieve stress, anxiety or depression.

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