How Piano Lessons Benefit Young Children
Piano lessons provide a wide range of benefits for young children. Here are my top five.”
1. Piano lessons help preserve and develop children’s natural creative abilities.
The best analogy for how children learn through music that I have found is from Donald Kroodsma’s book “The Singing Life of Birds”. Each songbird can be identified by the unique song it sings, but a baby bird must be taught by its parents to sing the familiar song. Baby birds, like humans, only ‘babble’ at first. The mother birds sing the familiar song over and over to the baby birds as they try to repeat it. At first, the little birds can only sing one or two notes, but gradually they learn to sing the whole song. And the birds with two voice boxes even learn to sing their own harmony parts! Once the baby birds learn the familiar song, they can begin to develop their own songs. Similarly, I encourage students to compose their own music after developing the necessary skills. In my experience, young children playing the piano are a lot like songbirds.
2. Piano lessons help children refine their natural learning processes.
Music is a language, and children are programmed to absorb languages. Studies have shown that children can learn new languages more easily when they start at an early age. Piano lessons help children develop the same skills needed to achieve language arts, such as reading. At piano, students learn to follow directions, scan written materials, think critically, create solutions, and translate writing into action. For example, students must look at each note, measure, and phrase and decide how to play each note to make the music come alive. Many children (including my own children) have become much better readers after starting piano lessons. Additionally, piano lessons involve an interplay of left and right brain activity that stimulates neural development.
3. Piano lessons help children learn how to stay focused and achieve goals.
Piano lessons help children set specific goals and then work to achieve these goals. Each new piece of music a student learns requires a specific set of playing skills and habits. To achieve these goals, students must learn to focus and study every note, beat, and phrase to understand how to play the song. By doing this, students learn to think critically and creatively as they decide how to make music come alive. Staying focused over time develops good study habits that become second nature. This is important because learning to practice good habits that match up with their goals shows kids how to make their dreams come true!
4. Piano lessons help children develop courage.
It takes courage to face challenges without letting anxiety and worries take over. Piano lessons help students learn to accept challenges like learning a difficult song, as well as performing pieces in front of teachers, friends, and family in recitals. The lessons also help children learn the importance of maintaining a positive outlook despite difficulties. Learning to manage uncertainty and stress in a way that minimizes anxiety and maximizes creativity is a valuable life tool. We all need practice at this!
5. Piano lessons teach children to persevere.
A key part of achieving something difficult is not giving up easily. As children get older, piano lessons teach them to try and then try again if they don’t succeed at first. However, as Yoda explained to Luke Skywalker, the goal is not just to prove himself, but to achieve the desired goal: “Do it or don’t do it, there is no trying!” Piano lessons teach students how to adjust their expectations if they are initially unable to master a difficult song or skill, and how to approach these big goals by taking small, incremental steps. In the end, like songbirds that eventually learn to sing, students learn that they can achieve great things and achieve their dreams through constant and careful effort.