Of all the educational trends that have emerged during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, one of the most interesting is related to piano lessons. For many parents, piano lessons are equivalent to a musical education, and they are not far off the mark with this assumption. Of all instruments, the piano is often considered one of the best for formal music instruction; there are a couple of reasons that explain why this holds true, but we will get to them later. For now, let’s look at two current piano learning trends:
Virtual piano lessons are now easier thanks to technology advances in video conferencing, broadband connections, and audiovisual devices such as cameras, microphones, and display screens. Piano teachers have gotten better at adjusting their lesson plans to communications platforms such as Zoom and Skype; to this effect, they can break down learning into tonal and rhythm patterns while encouraging children to express movements that they can later transmit on the keys.
Social distancing restrictions and remote learning are giving children more downtime at home, and this is clearly an opening for musical instruction; to this effect, we have noticed new mobile apps that aim to introduce children to keyboard playing. While these apps are certainly neat, they are not meant to replace piano lessons or comprehensive education programs such as Prodigies Music, but they can be a solid step in the right direction.
What Makes Piano An Excellent Instrument for Learning
If you have a young learner at home who you think is a good candidate for music education, starting out with Prodigies Music is a good idea because we focus more on music theory than on the myriad social learning programs offered these days. Once your child has a firm grasp on real world musical skills, he or she will have an easier time with piano lessons.
With all the above in mind, let’s talk about why piano lessons are great for children. You may have heard that piano is easy to learn but difficult to master; in reality, all instruments are difficult to master, but piano has the learning advantage of laying out the musical scale right at the fingertips of students. Every Prodigies Music lesson that your child completes will translate well when the time comes to learn piano.
Guitar virtuoso Eric Johnson often tells his fans that every guitarist should learn to play piano if they want to master their beloved instrument; this recommendation has a lot to do with the level of musical involvement that goes along with piano performance. The truth about piano lessons is that they can provide more benefits than just learning a classic instrument; here 10 things that your child may experience when learning to play:
Opening the Mind to Musical Culture
Music is a lot like language in the sense that it can act as a key to learning more about the world. In 2016, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published ethnographic findings about two visits they made to Bolivia, where they met with an Amazonian tribe and shared knowledge about music. In the beginning, the musically inclined tribe members did not show an interest in learning about music beyond their indigenous kind, but once they heard piano pieces, they wanted to learn not only about the instrument but also about foreign languages and customs from other countries. Researchers believe the sophistication of the piano compositions and the wide range of notes sparked the curiosity of tribe members.
Positive Emotional Vibes
Many young piano learners who are on the autism disorder spectrum or who have issues related to attention deficit often report that they feel better and more relaxed during their lessons.
Coordination and Rhythm Development
Not all piano instruction programs are centered on classical music; in fact, many teachers believe that popular music is better suited for younger learners because it is more likely to provide with opportunities to learn rhythm patterns, which in turn has the benefit of improving the development of coordination and reflexes.
Improved Language Skills and Eloquence
Researchers are not entirely certain why piano students of all ages tend to improve in terms of speech and grammatical usage. This may be tied to the “Mozart Effect” studies of the mid-1990s, which suggests that it may have something to do with musical complexity.
Sharpening Hearing and Listening
Seasoned piano teachers believe that listening is one of the most important aspects of their curriculum programs. Once students learn to listen to notes, beats, scales, and arpeggios in a critical manner, they will likely extend this skill to other facets to their lives such as listening to their parents at home and to their teachers at school.
Right around the time the “Mozart Effect” study was published, researchers from the University of Manchester completed a study among children who were learning music theory, particularly pitch, and other children who did not take music lessons. When comparing reading comprehension ability between the two groups, the researchers found that the children who were attending music lessons were much better readers, and they attributed this advantage to musical notation exercises that students had to practice on the piano keys.
Like any other activity outside of what children are used to at home and in school, piano lessons will add another dimension to their weekly routines. This dimension will likely include more than just the lessons; virtually all piano teachers leave practice exercises to their students. If the piano instructor notice that the student is truly gifted, more practice sessions and even extra lessons may be assigned. Taking piano lessons, completing practice exercises, going to school, and scheduling time to play will demand a certain level of organization and time management from your child, and this is always a good thing to experience from an early age. We are talking about lifelong skills that will remain even if your child shows interest in other instruments or does not pursue a career in music.
Development of Self-Esteem
Quite a few parents start noticing this benefit of piano lessons when their children are evaluated by the instructors or once they start participating in recitals. The causal factor in this case is the level of excitement, but this may also have to do with the style of teaching; either way, whenever self-esteem is boosted through achievement, the personal benefit is truly valuable because it can also help to build character and confidence.
Piano Lessons as Entertainment
Similar to the self-esteem benefit described above, this one will have a lot to do with the instructor and his or her teaching style. Many younger piano teachers focus on rhythm patterns, and they do this through popular music exercises; for example, the piano lines of Camila Cabello’s “Havana” are bouncy, catchy, simple to play, and easy to teach; they come from the traditional Cuban “son” genre, which is essentially Afro-Caribbean dance music. Best of all, children are more likely to identify with artists whom they used to watch on Disney Channel programs, thus making lessons more entertaining. Other piano teachers are enthusiastic and stick to methods that emphasize having fun. If you hear your child laughing while learning to play piano, the lessons will be worth every single penny.
Creativity and Overall Mind Engagement
Let’s say your child completes the Prodigies Music program and truly enjoys piano lessons; what would you think if he or she later picks up a guitar and decides to become a recording studio engineer for punk rock bands? When a child starts learning to play the piano, there is no way to tell what the future may bring, but this does not matter as much as the underlying benefit of stimulating the mind. If your child becomes a smart and creative individual, the piano lessons more than paid off. In 2013, Swedish scientists scanned the brains of musicians who sat at the piano and improvised jazz, blues, calypso, and chamber music; the digital imaging revealed that the brain regions that regulate creativity were not only very active but also enlarged. Interestingly, the majority of the test subjects were not professional musicians; they chose other careers but never separated from music.