Before I give you the benefits of playing the piano, can you tell me the benefits of not playing the piano? In other words, why don’t you play?
Adults all over the world are turning to the keys. They’re realizing that lessons are not for children only. They’re discovering that it’s never too late to learn. But what about you?
It’s true that piano lessons benefit young children, but they benefit grown-ups as well. In fact, they may advantage grown-ups even more.
Do you want to play, even a little bit? If so, then let me give you twenty benefits of playing piano. As a bonus, I’ll give you twenty-five reasons to start learning NOW. Let’s go!
By learning keyboard skills, you will improve yourself in 5 major ways…
You will enjoy intellectual, emotional, physical, social, and personal benefits. Each of these benefits will affect you in a positive and multifaceted way. Let’s take a look.
If you think only the smartest people should play piano and that you’re not smart enough to do it, then you’re wrong. In fact, playing the piano will actually make you smarter!
Improve your memory
Would you like to remember things better? Research shows that piano lessons enhance the working memory of older adults.
This is especially true after as little as six months of learning.
This benefit shows up specifically when you read. In 1993, the Educational Psychology Journal linked playing the piano with improved reading comprehension. If you want to remember what you read (including this article!), then playing the piano is for you.
Improve your brain speed
During childhood and adolescence, your nerves go through a process called myelination. This means your nerves add layers of insulation. These layers help signals travel faster through your nervous system. (Your nervous system includes your brain.)
Medical professionals have associated this process with normal childhood and adolescent development. But research now shows that adult activity can increase this process.
One notable study links this process to piano playing. So, by playing the piano, you may increase your brain’s ability to think better.
Expand your aural skills
Aural awareness means that you have a keen understanding of the sounds you make and hear. It also means that you can blend sound with others and that you can keep a steady rhythm and pulse. Some people call this a “musical ear.”
Though having a musical ear helps you play the piano, the opposite is also true.
Playing piano helps you develop a musical ear. So don’t let your lack of aural skills keep you away from the keys. Build those skills today by taking lessons.
If you learn to play piano, you will learn how to listen to music and sing better, too.
Sharpen your concentration and focus
Did you know that you are multitasking when you play the piano?
You are focusing on rhythm and tempo, pitch and volume, melody and harmony all at once. At the same time, you are also focusing on finger positions, body posture, and more.
Do you lose focus at school? Do you lose concentration at work? Then learning to play the piano will help you overcome these problems.
After all, playing an instrument is one of few activities that engages all areas of your brain at once.
Piano and Your Brain (Infographic)
Music therapy helps improve physical and mental health through the expression of emotions. When you play piano, you provide yourself with this valuable form of therapy every single time.
Decrease your stress and anxiety
In 2013, the National Library of Medicine published a fascinating article. It showed that playing piano eases stress. It also reduces depression in elderly adults.
How does this work? It overcomes negative emotions through repetitive sounds that engage your neocortex. This effect calms you and reduces your urge to be impulsive. It also teaches you to listen to new, constructive music.
It encourages you to listen to uplifting and constructive music instead, moving you beyond what you “feel” like playing. This pulls you out of your “loop” of dark and depressive feelings.
Increase your happiness
Playing the piano does more than remove negative emotions. It replaces them with positive emotions – in several ways.For instance, what’s better than listening to happy, uplifting music? Playing that music yourself!
Who hasn’t watched an inspiring movie or TV show and wished that they could go plunk out the theme song on a keyboard? I know I have.
Two melodies especially stand out. They are Forrest Gump (1994) and Home Alone (1990). Right now, your keyboard is absolutely begging you to play them!
With some lessons under your belt, you can play happy, beautiful melodies like these and more.
Boost your confidence and self-esteem
Feeling timid and apprehensive? Want to conquer that feeling? Playing the piano will build your confidence.
In particular, doing this enables you to overcome shyness. It’s like public speaking this way, only you don’t have to look at your audience or use your voice.
Here’s how it works.
- When you plunk out your first melody, your confidence grows.
- When you progress from playing with one hand to two hands, your confidence grows more.
- When you move from one level of difficulty to another, your confidence grows even more. (The first steps are easy!)
- Then, when you perform in front of an audience, your confidence grows even more.
The sky’s the limit. Every skill level you achieve unlocks the door to another level. Your confidence increases each step of the way.
My college instructor compared piano to football and for good reason. Like football, playing piano yields physical benefits – but without the concussions.
Increase your hand strength and dexterity
Playing the piano is like taking your fingers to the gym. As you practice on a regular basis, your fingers will inevitably strengthen.
Finger speed will also increase. Yet strength and speed alone will not be their greatest reward.
Your fingers will also become nimbler on the keys over time. As a result, you will discover better what it means to “get a grip,” not just at the keyboard but in life at large.
You might even get better at opening the pickle jar!
Improve your eye-hand coordination
You don’t have to be ambidextrous to play the piano; but playing will help you develop ambidexterity. (Ambidextrous means that you can use both hands equally well.)
When you play, your brain must tell each hand to perform separate actions. Your right and left hands will play different notes at the same time, following different rhythms and moving in opposite directions.
Keyboard skills may even expand your typing skills, making you more productive at work (if typing is part of your job).
Enhance your health (by boosting HGH levels)
Playing the piano is not the fountain of youth, but it’s close! Did you know that taking lessons later in life can slow down your aging process?
Here’s how it works. Your pituitary gland produces a human growth hormone (HgH). This function helps regulate body fluids, muscle and bone growth, metabolism, and perhaps even heart function.
A study by the University of Miami indicated that adults (even seniors) who take lessons experience increased levels of HgH. Therefore, this benefit is not limited to children alone.
For adults, this hormone sustains higher energy levels, boosts muscle mass and sexual functions, and diminishes the aches and pains of old age, including osteoporosis.
Playing the piano not only improves you in mental and emotional ways, but it connects you to the people and world around you.
Are you staring at screens too much? Playing the piano provides a satisfying escape from the virtual world. Real keys. Real sound. Real music. It’s a sensory and kinetic experience in every way. There’s nothing pretend about it.
Playing piano also puts you in contact with other real people, in real space and time. Most importantly, you interact with a teacher, usually on a weekly basis.
You may also interact with other students, additional teachers, and – of course – your audience, whenever you play your music for others.
Encourage other people
When I mention playing music for others, I am actually mentioning a benefit of playing which extends beyond yourself. Here’s what I mean.
Since “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” then giving away your music like this ends up being a blessing for you again in a roundabout way.
Like a boomerang, the gift will come back to you more than you would guess.
Receive criticism better
The older we get, the more we know (or think we know). The more we know, the less we appreciate criticism. That’s why we become “stuck in our ways.” Thankfully, piano lessons help you overcome this problem.
As a student, you prepare for your lessons each week. Then you play what you’ve practiced for your teacher. A good teacher will congratulate you for a job well done, but he or she will also offer constructive criticism.
If you’re not careful, this may “pop your balloon” and leave you feeling deflated. But if you respond well, you’ll take the feedback and make the necessary improvements.
Elevate your multitasking skills
What to become more efficient? Who doesn’t? Playing the piano will train you to focus on multiple things – kind of like juggling, but in a far more artistic way. Some call this ability “split concentration.”
When you play the piano, your eyes read the music, your hands move in separate directions, your fingers press multiple keys at once, and your feet press the pedals. If that’s not multitasking, then I don’t know what is!
Multitasking skills like these extend to real-life situations. These skills enable you to pay better attention at school and work without requiring you to drop everything else you’re doing.
Diversify your cultural awareness
Many people describe music as a “universal language.”
As the Oxford Cultural Value Project demonstrates, this is true because music expresses the feelings, perspectives, and values of one culture to another.
Imagine learning more about South African culture by learning to play a distinctive South African praise harmony. Or experience the warmth of Irish culture by learning to play the distinctive folk tune, “Danny Boy.”
Then how about feeling some Austrian nationalist nostalgia by playing “Edelweiss.”
Playing piano also bridges eras and subcultures within a nation, like the United States of America.
Reflect back over the struggles and triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement, for instance, by playing a protest anthem like “We Shall Overcome.”
Or turn back the page of American history even further to the Revolutionary War tune of the 1700s, Yankee Doodle.
Become a better listener
A Jewish rabbi once said, “You have two ears but one tongue for a reason, and the tongue is covered by two lips.”
This sage advice reminds us to do twice as much listening as talking. It also reminds us that when we do speak, we should think carefully about what you say beforehand.
If you struggle to live this way, talking way too much and listening way too little, then you should learn to play piano.
Indicators suggest that this experience will make you a better listener. You will also improve your ability to interpret the emotions of others.
Playing piano improves your overall quality of life as a person. While it’s hard to explain all the ways that this happens, I’ll shine the spotlight on several personal advantages you don’t want to miss.
Compose your own music
Before you learn to play the piano, you are limited in your music listening options. You are confined to the songs that other people have composed.
After you learn, you remove those limitations. You gain the ability to sit down at the keyboard and play new tunes. If you think it you can play it, without copyright restrictions.
Then, if you learn some music theory, you can write your music down using some notation software like Finale, Sibelius, or Notion.
Even better, if you play on an electronic keyboard, you can record your melodies and harmonies into this software directly, as you play the keys.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to make some music – literally.
Manage your time better
Ever feel like you’re wasting time, spinning your wheels, going nowhere fast? Learning to play the piano is a great way to solve this problem.
Perhaps you’ve heard the old adage, “Practice makes perfect.” Well, it’s true, but more than you may realize.
Whatever song you’re working on, practice makes it perfect. Whatever keyboard skills you’re learning, practice makes them perfect, too.
But piano practice also helps you perfect your time management habits in life at large beyond the keyboard.
- As you look forward to daily practice (and you will), you learn to set aside regular time for things that matter.
- As you work out your scales and songs, you learn to budget small increments of time towards a larger goal.
- You learn to break down a larger project (like a song) into smaller goals, one measure and phrase at a time.
As you practice, you perfect the art of time management. Mastering this skill at the keyboard will equip you for more responsible time management in other arenas of your life.
Become a more complete person
Your life is like a puzzle with missing pieces. Music is one of those pieces waiting to be popped into place.
When you learn to play piano, you put that piece where it belongs and make your picture more complete. When you don’t, you leave an obvious hole in the picture.
Playing the piano improves you as a person in mental, emotional, physical, and social ways.
If you never learn to play, then you will fall short of the person you could have become. You will fail to experience the joys and accomplishments which could have been yours.
Discover new opportunities
Playing the piano is like a door leads to other unexpected doors of opportunity. To illustrate my point, I’ll share my own piano-playing adventure.
Learning the piano opened the door for me to teach the piano to other students, something I had never envisioned doing.
This opportunity not only helped me pay my tuition, but it also opened the door for me to teach other non-music subjects in a private school as well.
What’s more, I accompanied a traveling vocal ensemble (as the pianist), visiting forty-four U.S. States over four summers as a result, from Maine to Arizona and Texas to Minnesota!
If I had never learned the piano, these doors never would have opened. But what horizons await you in your piano-playing journey? What doors of opportunity are waiting to open before you?
Start learning NOW, because…
Perhaps you’ve read these benefits and you’re thinking you’d like to play the piano, someday – but not quite yet.
Maybe you’re aiming to begin a year from now, or maybe you’re waiting for a time that’s more convenient. Before you jump to that conclusion, let me offer you twenty-five reasons not to wait and to start learning NOW.
You should start learning NOW because:
- 1) You want to.
- 2) Time is slipping away.
- 3) You don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
- 4) You might like it.
- 5) You might discover a new tune.
- 6) You may prevent or delay Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- 7) It’s easier to learn piano than other instruments.
- 8) There are many ways to learn (link to my previous article).
- 9) There is a keyboard or piano that suits your style (link to your website info).
- 10) You can find a keyboard at an affordable price (link to your website info).
- 11) It’s fun!
- 12) You’ll inspire others.
- 13) You’ll impress others.
- 14) You’ll learn a new language (sort of).
- 15) You’ll also learn some Italian words (like forte, staccato, accelerando, and so much more).
- 16) You’ll prove that you can do it (to yourself and to the world).
- 17) You do have the money to do it.
- 18) Everyone else is doing it!
- 19) You’re sad, and it will cheer you up.
- 20) You’re spending too much time in front of a screen.
- 21) You’re happy and you’ll be able to show it.
- 22) You’re bored and you need something to do.
- 23) You’re curious and there’s no other way to find out what it’s like.
- 24) You might go on to learn another instrument.
- 25) New opportunities will open up for you.
Whether you’re six, sixteen, or sixty years old, there’s a whole lot of reasons to learn piano (and few reasons, if any, why you should refrain). So many intellectual, emotional, physical, social, and personal benefits will come your way!
Do you agree? If so, then what’s stopping you? Choose your keyboard. Choose your learning approach. Then dive right in.
Still have questions? Have something to say? Then share your thoughts in the comments below.
If you like this article and want others to read it, then share it with your friends online. After all, you have twenty reasons to do so, plus twenty-five more reasons why you should do so NOW.
About the Author – Thomas Overmiller
Thomas is a NYC-based writer (and husband, and father of six young children) who has devoted his life to pastoring Faith Baptist Church in Queens.
He interest in music began at 8 years old and he continued lessons through his senior year of college.
During middle school, he earned annual honors in the summer music festival of Indiana University, and he has taught private lessons using various curriculums and methods. As opportunity allows, he plays the piano for church worship, and he leads a weekly children’s choir.
You might also like:
Picking the Best Way to Learn Piano Today (The Definitive Guide)
The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Digital Piano
Best Digital Pianos for Beginners (Under $500)
Best Weighted Keyboards Under $700 (for Intermediate Players)
Wow, so many benefits that I’ve never think that it could do. As I know that Einstein is good at violin playing as well.
One of the best articles I have read about the piano. Really appreciate your effort thanks for sharing. I am a beginner and also looking to learn piano. These benefits will motivate me in my learning.
Jane, I’m thrilled that you have benefited from this article. As a past piano instructor (and the student of many good instructors along the way), I trust that I’ve inspired you in your journey!
It’s interesting to know that playing the piano will improve your memory. I’m looking for a new hobby, but I would like something related to music. I believe that piano lessons will be great for me.
I like how you said that playing the piano is like taking your fingers to the gym. My wife and I would like to have our child do some activities after school so he can develop more skills. I will talk to my wife and see if she agrees to take our child to piano lessons.
Derek, nice! On a side note (pun intended!), looks like you might live not too far from me here in Queens, NY. Are you a Mets or Islanders fan?
This page is really something! Thank you very much for all these cool information.
I liked that you elaborated on the importance of learning to play the piano to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. My wife and I are thinking about starting a new hobby, and we are looking for advice to choose the best one. I will let her know about the benefits of playing the piano to help our decision.
I’m from the Philippines and i found this so helpful and informative. I’m planning to use these articles for our Church Summer Activities in teaching Youth’s about the piano/keyboard. Thanks 🙂
Darren, as a pastor of a church myself, I’m thrilled that you’re able to use this material to benefit your church summer activities! Thanks for sharing!
I never knew that you could build your confidence by playing the piano. My husband and I want to have our 5-year-old daughter learn how to play an instrument in a couple of weeks, and we didn’t know which one would be best. I really appreciate you helping me learn more about the benefits of playing the piano!
So glad to help you!
It is true, it really helps you feel better. I just started my quest yesterday, after years of wanting to learn. Thanks to the thorough information of your site, I felt comfortable enough to order a Casio PX-160GD bundle this morning, dust cover and BeyerDynamics headphones this afternoon. Working on a rolling case now. Tomorrow, I will dive deeper and explore music theory & keyboard fundamentals courses.
As a disabled veteran, with pain from my hairline down to my soles, help for my aching fingers and depression were an important reason to finally take the plunge. Mood is an important part in pain perception and pain/absence of pain can have a profound impact on perceived mood. All this will in turn impact eating and sleeping…and I do NOT want to be dependent on a pill for each and everything, only to find out after I croaked that “oops, we were wrong, this stuff will actually kill you.” I am apprehensive and cautiously optimistic.
Hi Thomas, thank you for writing this! I am an epileptic who has been recently exploring the ways that music (especially piano) can help with my epilepsy. I have been primarily focusing on the direct impact it has on the neurological functions and communications, however, you have inspired me to use it more for indirect benefits, which also, have a large impact on my epilepsy.
This was a great read. Just what I needed to reactivate my long-time desire to play piano. Just subscribed to an online course and waiting for my 55 year old brain to kick in. ?
That’s awesome, Maggie! Glad you liked the article. Happy playing 🙂
I was really impressed by all the benefits that learning piano can give someone, especially the one about increasing focus and concentration. I’ve always noticed that my son has a very keen sense of concentration as he always zones out whenever I ask him to do something like a brain exercise, and this made me wonder if I can cultivate this talent somehow. Playing the piano sounds like a really healthy way to approach this, so I’ll start looking for any places that can provide him with private lessons.
Thomas, I enjoyed reading your blog about the benefits of piano playing. With your interests, perhaps you would like to scan my website piano4me.org which describes my Instructional Design approach to teaching: introduce one concept at a time; no hand positions/minimal finger numbers; orients on space F not middle C; use spaces/keys to identify and locate the lines/keys. Though I’ve used this method for decades, I’m new to this self-publishing on Amazon and would appreciate your thoughts.
Example: 65 year old student with no music background; only 4 months of lessons; played Clementi’s Sonatina page 1 with correct timing and note identification, good tempo. She practiced 10 -15 mins a day. Lovely student!
This is so wonderfully written that I had to share! Love this!
I love how you put together all this information. Very compact content and I highly recommend this to all piano players and to those who are planning to be one. Thank you!
Amazing Thank you!
I just had a mom of a 10 yr old girl ask to stop. The girl has therapy in her life for many reasons
I will forward this to the family
This can save a life as well as create a new life
full time musician teacher Buffalo New York U S A
I just picked up playing again today after 30 years. Your site has been so useful to me! From this article on all the benefits (just reinforcing my decision), to helping me choose a digital piano (I’m blown away by how much the technology has advanced!), and finding a path to learn online (I chose Playground Sessions) – this site is an awesome resource. Thank you for what you’ve built here.
This is beautiful.
Hey there! My name is Nataly. I am 19 years old, and I am visually impaired. My interest with the piano started when I was about seven years old. I would always get excited whenever I heard a piano music while watching TV, or listening to classical music with my Uncle Carlos. My parents must’ve noticed this at some point. Because a year later, they got me my first keyboard when I was eight years old. I was very happy when my dad came in to my bedroom holding the keyboard. “This is for you,” he told me. I happily thanked him, and I immediately started trying to practice whatever melodies I could. I got a little bit of help from my cousin, Angelica. But for the most part, I am self-taught. But a year later, sometime after I turned nine years old, my parents have finally noticed that my first keyboard had three broken keys that if you pressed them, no sound would come out. So they decided to throw away that first keyboard, and my mom got me another one. I continued practicing tunes on it. But after a trip to San Diego, I noticed that my cousin Angelica had those big pianos that didn’t need electricity. So then, I started increasingly getting bored of the piano that I had here at home. I wanted to get a big piano, just like my older cousin had. My big break finally came when I was 10 years old. A neighbor had told my parents of two gentlemen that were giving away a piano that they didn’t need anymore. Now, I have a piano just like my cousins piano. I happily practice it every single day. Trust me: the piano, and I have been friends for a long time, and I don’t regret learning it, even though I took no lessons at all.