4 awesome ways playing piano benefitted the students with special needs in my studio:
We read and hear a lot about the how playing piano benefits the brain, improves memory and I.Q., helps with social interaction, boosts self confidence, calms down...the list goes on and on...
I am not writing this post to add more to the previous list, but to share my own experience on what playing piano is actually doing to my own students, every single time!
If you have similar experiences, I would love to hear about them too. Let's put the word out there and benefit more children.
1. Improved Communication and language:
I have students whose parents noticed a big difference in their communication and language skills after a few months of consistent lessons and practice.
Science backs this up and proves that brain is plastic; new pathways and neurons are always forming in the brain. The brain is actually able to change through life, especially whenever something new is learned and memorized.
Previously, it was believed that with age, the connections in the brain became fixed. However, research has shown that the brain never stops changing through learning.
Playing the piano involves moving the ten fingers independently while reading and interpreting the sheet music at the same time. It is like performing a monster brain workout. Many new neurons form during this activity.
The new neurons and connections that playing piano forms are then used by functions other than playing the piano. Research actually proves that playing the piano improves language and communication as a result of these new connections.
2. Improved hand eye coordination and fine motor skills:
Hand-eye coordination is the ability to coordinate the information received through the eyes to control and direct the hands to perform a given task, such as handwriting.
That is where the piano plays a big role, moving all fingers and hands independently from each other drastically improves fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
A professional music organization, the American Music Conference, released the a report by Dr. Arthur Harvey proves the role piano improves hand eye coordination.
I have more than one student with developmental delays whose teachers were so happy to see how much their handwriting have improved since they started playing the piano. Others became better at tying their shoe laces and zipping their jackets.
3. Increased their attention span:
This is the first benefit that every parent notices after around 2 months of lessons. The child can actually hold his or her attention without needing a break for longer periods of time, until the student is able to sit through the 30-minute lesson without any interruptions.
4. Put a smile on their faces:
Playing piano gives the children a wonderful lifetime hobby. It gives them a creative way of expression. They love to participate in recitals which in turn helps build their self esteem and makes them very happy.
They always come to their lessons skipping with joy.