Brains, Children and the Piano
Your child plays the piano with their brains more than their fingers. As a result, all that matters is your child’s experience at the piano. It doesn’t matter what other people think, what others expect. Even what the piano teacher thinks is irrelevant.
What matters is that your child has a chance to experience playing the piano, and enjoys what they are able to do. Even attempting the piano is a success. It is destructive for the child to be forced to live up to anyone’s expectations. There is no “one size fits all.” Only fools and pedants believe in that. It is a success to even attempt the piano.
No One Is Headed For Carnegie Hall
No one in their right mind expects their child to play at Carnegie Hall. What we’re looking for is hobbyists and aficionados, not piano virtuosi and superstars. Let me assure you that if your child has what it takes to play Carnegie Hall, it will be obvious.
No one in the piano business will miss their cue. The number of children with that in the cards for them are so few, that it is not even a real number. Take all the wildly talented children, divide by 10,000, and then pick one. That one child has a 1% chance of a successful career as a piano soloist. Maybe.
But all children, properly nurtured, have a 100% chance of playing simple songs at the piano, feeling great about it and adding to their general education and intellectual skills. Your child is an individual. Let’s get that individual child to play as well as they can, without stress, without wildly unrealistic expectations.
Lessons Improve Brain Function
The point of early childhood music education is not expertise. It is instead an exposure to the intellectual and abstract concepts inherent in music that will help their minds grow. Children’s piano lessons increase mental powers. To demonstrate this, we need to look at the human brain itself. The brain, divided into two sides, controls each hand with the opposite side of the brain.
The left brain controls the right hand, while the right brain controls the left hand. The two sides “speak” to each other via a huge superhighway of nerves and ganglia called the “corpus callosum.”
The reason the piano is so beneficial for children intellectually is that the piano, in having both hands work together in similar ways, forces the brain to use both hemispheres simultaneously. There are very few activities on earth that excite the “corpus callosum” like music and piano. That’s why toddlers dance around when excited by music.
Skills Improved By Piano
Your child’s brain is changed as a result of playing the piano. Even attempting the piano has benefits. It is a known medical fact that the “corpus callosum” (that nerve path between the brain’s two sides) of musicians is up to 90% larger than that of people who are not musicians. And starting piano at an early age begins those benefits early in life, giving it the most time to grow.
Let Kids Be Kids
The saddest part of music education today is that piano lessons are designed to produce candidates for Carnegie Hall. It’s time to let kids be kids and not rob them of the benefits of piano because they don’t fit a teacher’s idea of accomplishment.