There is surely no sound more intoxicating than that of a piano. But what if we told you that piano music not only sounds good – it can do good too.
Intrigued? Read on to find out more about the power of music on both mind and body.
Music and mood
Got a workout playlist? Who hasn’t? There is a reason we all have a go-to list of tunes to exercise to, and that’s the indisputable power of music to motivate.
With the right mix of music, you can power through that last HIIT session or shave seconds off your personal best.
Change the tempo of your tunes and you really can change your mood.
Upbeat happy music encourages the brain to release ‘feel good’ hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin. Calming music helps the mind to relax and switch off.
It’s not just downtime when music can come in handy, though – music can help you to work better too. Calming orchestral music is particularly good in the office, as donning headphones and zoning out background noise can help you to focus on the task in hand. In fact, a recent study found that over half of those surveyed believed listening to music at work improves their mental health and happiness. 56% claimed it improves their mood and two-thirds said it helps them to focus and get work done quicker.
Music and memory
There is a wealth of ongoing research into the connection between music and memory, but it is widely believed that music can help those living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive challenges to reconnect to the world around them.
Oliver Sacks, noted neurologist and best-selling author of Musicophilia, spent much of his life discussing the impact of personalised music on people living with severe memory loss. In an interview debating the power of music in relation to memory, Sacks details the astounding positive effects of music on memory. In many of the care homes where he worked with patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and various forms of dementia – which led to confusion, agitation, and in many cases the loss of language – he recounts how they all “…without exception, respond to music…touching springs of memory and emotion which may (otherwise) be completely inaccessible to them”.
Parts of the brain that react to music are very close to those associated with memory, emotion, and mood. Listening to a favourite piece of music or an old song can trigger memories of the emotions and events experienced when it was originally enjoyed, helping listeners to regain a sense of identity, albeit only briefly.
Music and mental health
We’ve already touched on the power of music on mood, so it’s no real surprise that music can also play a huge part in our mental health. Helping listeners process emotions, trauma, and grief, research shows that music can act as an effective therapy for numerous mental health conditions, including depression and schizophrenia.
Composing music or writing song lyrics can also be a positive way to express and release emotions. The versatility in the expression of a piano and the simple act of sitting down in front of the keys seems to work well for many people. It can have a cathartic effect, reducing anxiety, loneliness, and symptoms of depression.
Music and learning
All parts of our body need a regular workout to stay in good condition, and the brain is no exception. Reading music and playing a musical instrument are complex activities, using motor and multisensory skills – which makes playing the piano a fabulous form of exercise!
Not only is piano playing a great new skill to learn, and a fun way to pass the time, but it could also boost your IQ! According to research from the University of Zurich, regularly playing a musical instrument changes the shape and power of the brain. And in both adults and children, it can raise IQ levels by up to 7 points.
Aside from increasing the capabilities of our brains, music is also often used to help us learn and retain information – which is why children in early years education frequently learn through song.
Give the gift of music
If you needed any more reasons to love playing the piano, you’ve just found them!
The power of music and the positive effects it can have on all aspects of health and wellbeing can’t be refuted.
When music is imbued with so much possibility, there can surely be no greater investment of your time, energy, and finances than into a piano. Whether it’s for yourself, your loved one, or your community, buying a piano is investing in a higher quality of life.
At Richard Lawson Pianos, we offer a stunning collection of traditional acoustic and digital pianos – perfect for homes big and small, schools, community centres, and care homes.