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Playing Piano Improves Your Brain

by | Feb 26, 2018 | 1 comment

Playing piano is very challenging and very rewarding. But did you know that pianists’ brains work differently than other people’s? That’s right.

Many of the greatest minds in history were pianists, such as:

  • Frederic Chopin
  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Johannes Brahms
  • Franz Schubert
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Sergei Prokofiev

There are many others; they have all written some of the most impactful musical compositions in history and thus, have all helped to create music as it is today. So what made their brains different from everyone else’s? Read on to find out.

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Sergei Rachmaninoff is considered one of the top 10 greatest pianists of all time.

pianoPiano Is More Challenging Than Other Instruments

Since the piano was invented in Italy in the 1700s, it has captured the hearts of millions of people.

The piano demands a lot of the pianist and requires intense hand-eye coordination. Two hands must play the keys simultaneously, must travel swiftly across the 88 keys – and all 10 fingers must be in the right place at the right time.

There are so many possibilities with the piano. In fact, a piano can play 7 octaves, while other instruments usually can only play 2 or 3 octaves.

There are 8,400 possible chords you can play on the piano.

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Are You a Rightie or a Leftie?

Most humans are right-handed, according to Scientific American, though a small percentage are left-handed or ambidextrous (can use both hands equally well). Turns out the brain determines your dominant hand.

70 to 90% of people are right-handed, while 5-30% are left-handed or ambidextrous.

pianoIn fact, there is a specific part of the brain to determine whether someone is left-handed or right-handed: the brain’s central sulcus.

The central sulcus is a “cleft separating the frontal from the parietal lobes of the brain.” It is also referred to as the fissure of Rolando, or central fissure.

If the brain’s central sulcus is deeper on the left side, then that person is left-handed. If it’s deeper on the right side, they’re right-handed.

However, scientists discovered something interesting when looking at pianists’ brains:

their central sulcus was much more symmetrical.

Most people have a central sulcus that is clearly deeper on one side or the other, but pianists didn’t. They were much more symmetrical, meaning that though they were indeed born either right- or left-handed, their brain didn’t seem to favor a dominant hand.

Doctors speculated that this wasn’t natural, but rather a result of pianists having to utilize both hands; thus, more easily strengthening their weaker side to match the stronger one.

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pianoPlaying Piano Benefits the Mind

Pianists already have the super-cool ability to make their brains better-rounded. And continuing to learn and play the piano has great brain-boosting benefits for them, as well!

A 2013 study by Dr. Ana Pinho discovered that pianists’ have extremely superior frontal lobe connections as compared to non-musicians.

The scans showed that areas of the brain involved in improvisation were less active in the more experienced pianists, perhaps because their brains were working more efficiently. Regions thought to be important for improvisation had greater connectivity in the pianists who had more experience of improvising, Pinho said.

“More improvisation training led to more automation and higher functional connectivity between regions that are important for creative playing. This greater connectivity improved the efficiency and communication between those brain regions,” Pinho said at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.

Basically, pianists have much more efficient brains than the rest of us. If you want to be more creative, improve your improvisation skills, and make your brain more efficient, piano lessons are the tool you need to get there.

Read our Guide to Piano Lessons in Austin by clicking here.

Boost Your Brain Power With Piano Lessons at Lone Star School of Music

If you’re looking to boost your brain power, playing piano is a great way to do it! Lone Star School of Music is the place to be if you’re interested in piano lessons in Austin. So what are you waiting for? Get to know our talented, experienced instructors and sign up for piano lessons today!

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Playing Piano Improves Your Brain | Lone Star School of Music – Austin, TX