According to research, playing the piano can not only enhance the brain’s processing ability but also reduce negative emotions; the elderly learn to play the piano and even help protect the brain’s cognitive function.
London, UK (Merxwire) – Do you like playing the piano? Or like to listen to piano performances? Beautiful music can make people forget their troubles and regain their joyful mood! Studies now show that playing the piano does help reduce feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety. In addition, playing the piano enhances people’s visual and auditory abilities, and the benefits of playing the piano are far more than expected.
Musicians have stronger audiovisual processing and emotional recognition ability than the average person. Can these abilities be enhanced through musical training? A few weeks of music lessons can boost the brain’s ability to process sight and sound and help stabilize mood, according to a University of Bath study. The study has been published in Scientific Reports.
In the study, 31 adults were randomly assigned to a music training group, a music listening group, or a control group. They all completed one-hour lessons every week for 11 weeks. During the course, the music training group received piano training, the music listening group listened to the same music, and the control group did homework.
The analysis showed that only the music training group significantly improved in detecting differences in audiovisual time compared to the other groups. However, music training did not improve emotion recognition of facial expressions compared to the control group but did reduce levels of depression, stress, and anxiety compared to baseline.
Researchers found that even with just one hour of piano lessons per week, the learners’ ability to process sight and sound was already enhanced within just a few weeks of starting classes. Music training makes people’s audiovisual processing more accurate. Enhanced senses benefit almost all activities people engage in, including driving, crossing the street, finding people in a crowd, or even watching TV.
In the past, piano learning almost always started in childhood. Although there are also adults and older adults who take piano lessons, the number of learners is smaller than that of children. No matter when you start learning to play the piano, there is still time! An international study has found that taking piano lessons is a good thing for older adults, as it helps preserve the brain’s cognitive function.
According to a joint study from several German and Swiss institutions, learning a musical instrument is associated with changes in the brain’s adaptive capacity. The researchers recruited 121 participants aged 62 to 78 to learn to play the piano. They found that compared with those who did not actively take piano lessons, the memory-related areas of the brain degenerated more slowly in the active learners. Learning to play the piano helps maintain healthy memory function.
In the past two decades, scientists have discovered that playing musical instruments uses more brain cells and can train hand-eye coordination. Even after years of not continuing to practice an instrument, the cognitive brain benefits of learning music as a child were evident, and learning an instrument confers lifelong brain benefits. Want to liven up your brain? No matter what age you are, learning to play the piano or any other instrument is a great way to go!