Piano and the Brain
"There are myriad physiological, intellectual and emotional developments linked to acoustic piano learning in particular.
Just a few of these include
the ability to learn and interpret a new symbolic language,
and coordinate symbolic language cues with mechanical targets along a horizontal plane;
fine muscle development from required independent and simultaneous action of 10 individual fingers;
and control of speed, touch, and volume of each finger independently and simultaneously.
Better Math Testing: University of California, Irvine researchers worked with public school elementary-grade children in Orange County and Los Angeles. They found that children given only four months of piano keyboard training and time with newly designed computer software scored 27-percent higher on math and fractions tests. The results were not nearly as significant among those without the piano training. And the program helped children regardless of income level, boosting the achievement of all students, including those in low socioeconomic settings.
Long-Lasting Impact: The long-lasting effects of early music training are evident in high school music students' SAT scores. According to information compiled by the National Association for Music Education in 2001, SAT takers with coursework and experience in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 41 points higher on the math portion than students with no experience in the arts.
Higher IQS: In an article on Forbes.com, "Sorry, Kids, Piano Lessons make you Smarter," E.J. Mundell explores the direct link between piano playing, voice lessons and IQ. The article focuses on studies conducted at the University of Toronto. Participants were tested before and after attending first grade. The first grade students who received piano or voice lessons scored approximately 39-percent higher in IQ measurements.
Piano Lessons Make Kids Smarter
"Piano teachers have known this all along, but it is now confirmed by the research findings of Dr. Frances Rauscher of the University of Wisconsin at OshKosh, and Dr. Gordon Shaw of the University of California at Irvine. Research was first published in the February 1997 issue of Neurological Research. The research team in Irvine California, explored the link between music and intelligence and reported that music training-specifically piano instruction is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science.
The experiment included four groups of preschoolers: one group received private piano/keyboard lessons; a second group received singing lessons; a third group received private computer lessons; and a fourth group received no training.
Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34% higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than others. These findings indicate that music uniquely enhances higher brain functions required for mathematics, chess, science and engineering. "
Source: The Kjos Piano News-Volume 5, 1997