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Why is playing the piano important?

A Case for Piano Lessons

To anyone who has been paying attention, the fact that our society is moving towards a more fast-paced, instant-gratification culture is not news. With the invention of such marvels as the microwave, the cell phone, and "instant messaging," Modern Culture has certainly shifted into high gear. The risk, however, with this lightning-fast pace is that we may be losing our identity along the way.

Children today are rarely taught such niceties as etiquette, penmanship, and literature. The result? Our future leaders lack the trappings of academia and a sense of their place in the World. They no longer appreciate the importance of complex thought, articulation, beauty, courtesy - or any number of other things that can't be adjusted on an LCD screen. In addition, kids today spend so much time isolated across the internet or the latest video game system that the complexities of social behavior have become a mystery to them - with disastrous results.

The concept of culture is not extinct yet, however. Though the sitting room days of musical gatherings, book readings, home and hearth may seem provincial in the Digital Age, our salvation may come from an unlikely source: Science.

Science and the Piano

Recent scientific studies have determined that such simple disciplines as piano lessons can not only bump our IQ (an attractive goal in any age), but can also give us a better understanding of our emotions and how we interact with others. Widely-publicized findings in such major periodicals as Forbes Magazine and USA Today have helped to inform the general public that listening to music (especially complex music like jazz, ragtime, or classical) actually increases our cognitive capabilities. Other credible organizations like the National Association for Music Education and Neurological Research Magazine have published documentation that music training not only makes us smarter - it makes us happier and more social people. These (and many other) organizations have done such a tremendous job promoting this simple truth that most of us have at least heard that music makes us smarter. What we haven't heard, however, is that listening to music is only the first step. While the famous "Mozart Effect" study did conclude that listening to music can improve test scores in school, later studies have concluded that this effect lasts for less than two hours. Listening to good music is only the first step in a smarter, happier you. To be of permanent benefit to us, our musical experiences require our participation.

Regular piano lessons will not only help you "buff up" your brain, they will also help you reduce stress, enhance your immune system, improve your mood, interact with others, and even help to prevent cancer. The benefits of learning piano are endless!

So Play the Piano!

Whether you're a child - just beginning your cognitive development - or an adult who can still remember walking "uphill both ways" to school, you're a prime candidate for piano lessons. Science has shown us that the very discipline we're dropping from our schools and schedules is THE key to our future development as human beings. …so stop this trend in your home. Give your family the benefit of culture. People of all ages, styles, or skill levels can gain permanent benefits to body, mind and soul by taking piano lessons. The results may not be "instant," but the benefits will last a lifetime.

- James L. Harding, 3/25/09. [Excerpt from The Gist Piano Blog]

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