I fell in love with music at an early age. Sometimes, I sit back and watch some hilarious videos of me playing music on the piano that was recorded when I was five years old. Playing the piano always thrills me, and I remember admiring different composers’ orchestral compositions on the piano. My father, who was an experienced piano player, taught me how to play the piano at home since I was five years old. As I practiced, my piano skills improved immensely and playing the piano has remained my favorite hobby of all time.
Listening to music is one of the things that support the well-being of a person regardless of their age. People listen to music through different mechanisms for different reasons. Listening to music when you can play it on the piano becomes more interesting. I always perceived playing the piano as a hobby, until the moment I came to realize that active engagement with the piano has significant effects on one’s social, intellectual and personal development.
Playing music and practicing piano can be used as a tool to enhance the plasticity of the brain across different ages. According to Wan and Schlaug (566), playing music on a musical tool is an intense multisensory motor experience that begins at a young age, and usually requires one to acquire and maintain the range of musical skills over a lifetime. Because of that, neuroscientists argue that the continuous engagement of motor and auditory regions of the human brain due to learning and playing musical instruments such as the piano can produce cross-modal impacts on other cognitive or behavioral operations of the brain, enabling it to maintain plasticity overages and improve the learning capacity of a person.
Hallam (270) supports this idea by stating that constant interaction with music and playing of musical instruments results in changes in how the brain functions. As a result, pianists and string players have a “greater somatosensory representation of finger activity” than people who do not generally interact with those instruments (Hallam 270). However, Hallam (270) states that this ability depends on the age of the person and the time taken while using a given musical instrument. Therefore, I believe that since I have interacted with the piano for a long period, my brain still maintains its plasticity despite growing up.
Playing music on the piano boosts’ language, literacy, and perceptual skills. According to Linnavalli et al. (1), there is a close relationship between music and speech processing systems. Since musical experiences such as listening to music or playing the piano influence the processing of information in the brain, this may also affect the perception of language. When the perception of language in a person is improved, the learning process also improves in the person as learning takes place through the use of language. Additionally, music training help learners develop phonological awareness, which helps them learn to read and write more efficiently. For adults, this is very helpful when learning a new language. Learning to play musical instrumentals helps younger people recall the information they had learned previously. One practical example where the use of musical patterns to boost language, literacy and perceptual skills has been successful is where children with reading comprehension difficulties are trained to read from rhythmical performances (Linnavalli et al. 3).
Playing music actively on the piano boosts creativity and absorption of information. Creativity is a highly sought after quality in this century because it gives one the ability to deal with different challenges and opportunities in a unique way. According to Ritter and Ferguson, although creative cognition among people who listen to music often and those who don’t haven’t been deeply explored, the currently available research shows that listening to music boosts the convergent and divergent creativity of a person. In an experiment investigating this phenomenon, Ritter and Ferguson found out that the participants who listened to “happy music” while performing divergent creativity tasks had higher creativity than those who conducted the same activity in silence. Ritter and Ferguson concluded that music can be integrated into the daily life of the people and be used to offer ways of facilitating creative cognition in different organizational, educational, and scientific settings where critical thinking
Ryan and Brown (107) also determined that learning and playing musical instruments gives children the ability to compose their creative songs and invent notations. This creativity is important for proper development in other aspects of children’s lives.
Playing music on the piano creates a sense of self-efficacy, improves self-esteem and elates one’s mood. According to research conducted by Seinfeld et al. 810, a group of participants suffering from depression disorders or sadness was elated by playing a musical instrument such as the piano. The researchers used a piano learning program which took place over four months, and the study results seemed to show that the use of the piano improved the attention span of the participants, their visuomotor processing skills, their processing speed, and motor functions. Certain aspects of mood in adults were also improved by playing the piano, and the research suggested that active participation and lifestyle of playing the piano and other musical instruments during one’s free time was related to lower rates of depression among participants (Seinfeld et al. 810). In addition to that, when participants successfully played the piano, they felt like they had done something great and was proud of their accomplishment. Seinfeld et al. (810) concluded that the self-esteem of these participants was raised because of the sense of self-accomplishment they attained after reaching a given milestone in playing the piano.
In conclusion, playing musical instruments has a lot of importance to people regardless of their age bracket. I realized that most of the skills that I apply to play the piano are beneficial to my pre-medical career. Practicing with the piano helps me relieve myself from stressful moments after studying complex things in medical sciences. In addition to that, practicing music and playing piano has helped me become more insightful, improved my creativity, and eventually enabled me to easily understand different concepts in my Pre-Medical career. I believe that music is an extensive field, and so is my medical career. This means that I still have much to explore. Otherwise, I believe that my special bond with my piano has made me a better Pre-Medical student because it opens my mind every time I touch the keyboard.