Hammering a Couple of Tunes on the Ivories

We’ve always known about the wonderful benefits of music for children:

But if that’s not enough, here are even more reasons for children to learn a musical instrument:

Just in case you’re wondering, here’s why we need executive functions:

Executive functions allow us “to control ourselves, to reflect deeply, and to consider things from multiple points of view.” They involve “paying attention, remembering what we need to remember to pursue our goals, thinking flexibly, and exercising inhibition.” – Activities to Develop Executive Function

I know I’ve always been partial to learning the piano since it was an instrument that I learned as a child, but there are some very good reasons for choosing piano as the instrument of choice:

  • It overcomes handedness
  • Pianists brain require less energy to concentrate
  • Pianists that improvise a lot, like Jazz pianists, are:
    • more efficient decision makers
    • more capable of spontaneous creativity

Learning the piano can also help children control their emotions, reduce anxiety and boost attention – which I thought was particularly relevant for G2, although I’m sure G1 would also benefit from a little more control over his emotions.

Although G1 has been learning the piano at school, his motivation to practice has been rather lukewarm. There was a burst of practice when he had to perform at a recital in school but it came to an end after that. I don’t want to interfere with his piano teacher’s lessons but I wanted him to feel a little more inspired to learn without having to nag him so I thought back to when I was a child learning the piano…

When I was a child, my interest to learn the piano was also rather lukewarm. I only really got interested when I discovered music I desperately wanted to learn. That was the turning point when my own interest took over and my parents no longer had to say anything about piano practice. So here’s how we got G1 fired up with a few easy tunes – Darth Vader’s Theme (sheet music here):

… and the Harry Potter Theme (sheet music here):

G2 was a little harder to get going. His music experience is limited to Little Musician and TweedleWink when he was younger, and although he has a better ear for music compared to G1, he has never had any formal piano lessons. However, given my past experience with the piano, I felt confident we could work on the Hoffman Method together. So here he is working on “Hot Cross Buns”:

Learning the piano

I may be a little biassed about the piano given my history with it but it is a great choice for an extra-curricular. We only have so many hours in a day and it isn’t feasible for our children to do everything so if you want a big bang for your buck, I don’t think you could go too far wrong with piano lessons.


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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