Youâ€™re never too old to learn to play the piano, say the experts, and knowing how to tinkle the ivories brings several physical and mental health benefits.
This musical instrument has been around for longer than some of the worldâ€™s greatest monuments and achievements.
It was originally invented in Italy between 1698 and 1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori, who detested the way musicians had so little control over its predecessor the harpsichord. He then took matters into his own hands and invented what we now know as the piano and the backbone of music.
The piano is often viewed as a classical instrument, but nowadays there is barely any music that doesnâ€™t have the hint of a piano.
Although the experts make it look easy, gliding their hands over the keys it is not difficult to learn the basics.
Three benefits of playing the piano
Learning how to play the piano from a young age is a great asset to the brain, so even if you didnâ€™t start playing the piano at age six, your younger siblings and children definitely should.
The musical site Skoove reports at least three benefits of playing the piano, which are physical changes; greater emotional intelligence and enhanced well-being.
1. Physical changes
Physical changes refer to positive changes in the power and structure of the brain. This can be seen after playing for as little as five months and are noticeable even if you start later in life, for example after retirement. Learning how to play increases motor control and listening memory and has an impact on your ability to plan, co-ordinate, sharpen your language skills, your attention span and alertness.
2. Emotional intelligence
With greater emotional intelligence, comes the ability to recognise emotions in yourself and others, and use these to guide thinking.
Listening deeply is a natural and essential part of learning to play music. This also means you become more attuned to subtle changes like in tone of voice during a conversation. This type of awareness increases empathy and assists greatly in your personal and social life.
3. Enhanced well-being
Enhanced well-being refers to just being able to sit at the piano and express yourself as you block out the rest of the world. Playing the piano requires so much brain energy that it serves as a welcome distraction from worries.
Other benefits include improving your muscle memory, where the sensation of your fingers are in perfect control.
Playing a piece you love transfers you to a â€œflow stateâ€, where you become completely absorbed in what youâ€™re doing, losing sense of space and time. This is linked to good mental health, well-being and increases levels of life satisfaction and emotional resilience.
Music overall offers enjoyment, expression, achievement and escape, and you can read more on the following sites:
Three websites to teach you how to tickle the ivories:
Five apps to learn how to play the piano:
Learning ways of the piano at 73
Learning how to play the piano may be stressful, but at the end of the day youâ€™ll have all these wonderful benefits for your brain and youâ€™ll be able to play the piano. You are also never too old to learn how to play.
Piano teacher Laurie Carpenter noted on Quora that her oldest beginner was 73 and despite having lived such a long life, she had not had any musical experience. She was widowed and looking to try something new. It was difficult in the beginning as she had no sense of rhythm, pitch or tempo but she was determined enough and ended up playing her first recital at age of 74 and received a standing ovation.
Carpenterâ€™s student put in the work and was determined to make it work. The ladyâ€™s name wasnâ€™t mentioned, but she will forever be seen as a great example to the musical community. If she can do it, so can you!