The Importance of Piano

I have a tiny piano studio - two students. Before we moved to South Carolina I had upwards of 20, so this is a little more subdued. And easier to schedule around. Teaching piano is natural to me, something that brings joy to my heart.

There's an adorable picture of me in my mother's lap at the piano when I was just months old. From the age of four through high school I took, and loved, piano lessons. I can clearly remember hours a week at the piano in our living room, working on scales and playing hymns from my grandmother's Methodist hymnal. It has always been a part of me and something that brings me joy and relaxation.

So starting a piano studio seemed natural. But like anything else, there are people (yes, that means parents also) that don't take piano lessons seriously. I'm blessed to have two now that love and cherish their lesson time, but it hasn't always been that way.

Why are music lessons, piano in particular, so important?

1. They teach diligence. If a student of any age puts great effort into their piano practice, they will see results. Hopefully after seeing the fruit of their labor, they will learn that the more they put into it the more they will get out of it. This translates into the rest of their life, for the rest of their life.

2. They teach self-discipline. As a teacher, I can tell the difference between the students who practice because they want to and those who are tied to the piano bench until their time is up. Lessons and the incurring practice time helps students learn to sit down of their own free will.

3. They teach focus and concentration. You can't just sit down at the piano and whip through songs on the first go-around. Songs for beginners and advances students alike are written to encourage focus, practice and mastery of concepts. This is so important in school, work and home life as well, but it can be introduced through music.

4. They teach memorization. If you want to improve your brain capacity, learn how to memorize music. A piano teacher can teach students how to see the song as patterns and order, which can help with recall in other areas, too.

5. They teach confidence. Some people say they could never learn to read music, play an instrument or carry a tune in a bucket. The surprise and confidence come when they learn the note names, their first scale and hear the first notes of a song they know. Then they're ready to move on to something bigger and better because the beginner stuff is suddenly too easy. That's confidence that may encourage them to do something in another area of their life because they've been successful in their musical life.

6. They teach how to overcome shyness. The right teacher can bring a quiet student out of their shell through simple music. There is one-on-one time for conversation, opportunity for questions and answers and plenty of personal interaction. This is exactly what the shy ones among us need in order to break out and be confident.

7. They teach dedication. There's nothing more wonderful than mastering a difficult piece or completing an entire book. Only when there are goals and visible steps along the way will a student feel like they've accomplished something in their musical journey. Once they've finished one book, their ready to tackle another one. They see the rewards for their hard work and practice, then want to apply that same philosophy in everything else they do.

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