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The Benefits of Learning Piano for Children

Playing piano from an early age will positively affect your child's life in several areas.

A little boy at the piano. this compliments the intro of my blog post.

For over 30 years, I have taught music to children around the world, which has been the most rewarding experience—seeing how students improve over time, their enthusiasm, and experiencing how proud and happy they are when they have given a performance or passed an exam are the most rewarding moments for me as a music teacher.

As a child, I was fortunate that my parents always supported me in my music education. We've always had a piano in our home as my father played piano. I grew up listening to him practicing and was surrounded by great music. My father was an avid collector of vinyl records. He was particularly interested in the playing of Arthur Rubinstein, Géza Anda, Sviatoslav Richter, and Wilhelm Kempff. The recordings from those masters also became my favorites and are, in my opinion, still amongst the most outstanding examples of excellent piano performance today. It is essential for all piano students to listen to music from an early age as it instills what good piano sounds and performances entail. My parents always drove me to rehearsals and piano lessons tirelessly, for which I am so thankful to this day. The importance of a music teacher in a young student's life can't be overlooked. As a music teacher myself, I am always amazed by my young students' ability to absorb information, the speed at which they learn, and their enthusiasm. Learning piano appeals to young minds as it combines many skills, and when combined correctly, the results are simply amazing.

Skills involved in playing piano

What skills will we learn to master when we study piano?

  • Reading the notes of the musical alphabet in two different musical clefs.

  • Reading and counting rhythms.

  • Feeling and controlling the beat of the music.

  • Mastering basic left-hand patterns.

  • Developing coordination between both hands.

  • Developing foot coordination by operating the sustaining pedal.

  • Playing with musicality.

  • Playing with a balanced and beautiful sound: left-hand - right-hand balance, chord voicing, etc.

  • Develop finger control: touch, speed, and independence.

  • Hand-eye coordination.

Of course, this list may feel overwhelming. However, don't forget that these skills are gradually introduced and developed over time, which, when approached correctly, makes it manageable for anyone to learn piano at any age.

The piano is one of the world's most versatile and beautiful instruments. Learning to play this magnificent instrument is worth all the effort. I have played piano for more than 40 years, and it has given me so much joy, inspiration, comfort, and focus and even helped me through difficult times. Never have I had a day where I felt bored with playing piano. The amount of fantastic music written for piano is endless, and there are always new things to learn.

Let's explore the benefits of learning piano for children.

A boy practicing piano complimenting the start of listing the benefits learning piano has on children.

Seven benefits of learning piano for children.

Benefit 1: Learning piano makes your child a better student overall.

When your child learns piano, they become better students all around. Many studies show a correlation between learning piano and academic success in children. Learning to play piano stimulates the brain, improving functions like memory and abstract reasoning skills, which are essential for maths and science.

Benefit 2: Learning piano builds confidence.

Learning to play piano helps you get comfortable with self-expression. As children begin to master some skills, they will probably end up playing for their parents, family, friends, and piano teacher. They will perhaps pass piano exams if this is something they are pursuing. These experiences can build confidence in children as they present their hard work and dedication in a non-academic atmosphere. The wonderful feeling of achievement does wonders.

Benefit 3: Learning piano improves patience.

Our lives move at a fast pace. Living in a fast-paced world can cause us to become impatient, as people tend not to like to wait, which can cause stress. Learning to play piano involves learning a lot of new skills that take time to master. Your piano teacher may teach you to slow down to gradually build up your skills and accuracy. For example, the first few months of learning piano are hard work. Students can look back after a few months feeling proud that they stuck to it by not giving up. A good piano teacher should encourage young children and point out where all the hard work and dedication will lead to keep them motivated and eager to learn.

Benefit 4: Learning piano improves memory.

Researchers have found that learning to play piano can enhance verbal memory, spatial reasoning, and literacy skills. Did you know that playing piano uses both sides of our brain, which will strengthen memory power? Learning where notes are, what chords sound like, learning to read music yourself, etc. Learning these many things involved in playing piano will benefit a child's memory over time.

Benefit 5: Learning piano relieves stress.

As I mentioned in my intro, playing the piano has helped me through difficult times. Music can be such a comfort and sheer joy. There is always something new to learn, and the process of practicing can be very stimulating and rewarding. The effect music has on our mood is tremendous. It is said that classical music has a tremendous relaxing effect on our minds and bodies. Certain types of classical music can slow down our heart rate, lower blood pressure, and decrease the level of general stress hormones.

A child practicing piano in a very concentrated and focussed manner.

Benefit 6: Learning piano increases discipline and time management skills.

A good piano teacher will teach their students how to practice. How to make the best use of their time when practicing piano. Along the way, young students will also make their own discoveries, and this process of working diligently on piano pieces increases discipline in children. Improvements don't happen overnight and require students to make a focused time management plan to maximize their effort. A good piano teacher will set clear tasks from week to week to help the students gradually build skills to master a piece.

Benefit 7: Learning piano increases creativity.

Last but not least, practicing and improving a piece of music does wonders for the creative side of the brain. It is always up to the player to put his own stamp on a piece of music. We learn to follow the composer's instructions, but there will always be the element of interpretation. Injecting your own imagination and personality into the music is where creativity comes in. What sounds you create, how you balance the layers of a composition, which tempi you choose, how you shape phrases, and how you approach dynamics are all elements that increase creativity in children. Students will learn to express their emotions through sound.

Simply practicing a song regularly will reap many benefits you may not have thought possible. It has undoubtedly enriched my life, and I hope my young students will experience the same in their lives. Every child has different musical tastes and ways of learning. This is important to recognize as a piano teacher and parent so that we can make learning piano a transformative experience for students of any age. If you are already a parent of a child learning piano, I want to congratulate you, as you are giving a great gift to your child.

Thank you for reading. Leave your thoughts in the comments.


About the author

Robert Boer is a music educator with over 30 years of experience in the field of music education. He is the owner and director of MusicTutorOnline and teaches piano and music theory at MusicTutorOnline. After studying at the Conservatory of Music in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, his music education career took him all over the world, teaching students of all ages and backgrounds. 

More writings by Robert Boer:

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