Music is a universal language powerful enough to rally armies and unite countries, yet gentle enough to soothe a baby and heal a broken heart. Music makes celebrations and parties infinitely much more enjoyable, and acts therapeutically for people with emotional and physical problems. Piano music in particular has a special ability to deliver healing effects, since it only takes one person to play a full orchestral piece. With 10 fingers and 88 keys, an experienced piano player can change the attitude of an entire room.
The player may have an even larger effect than he realizes. For example, studies have uncovered that music causes detectable changes in brain waves, blood pressure, breathing patterns, heart rate and muscle tone. This gives a piano player the ability to improve the physical and emotional health of listeners in multiple ways. Let me share a few examples:
- Music dulls pain: Beautiful music is a soothing distraction from aches caused by chronic illness. Listening to good music actually raises endorphin levels, a brain chemical associated with happiness and feelings of well-being.
- Music reaches hidden areas of the brain: Music is stored in a different location than language and memory. That’s why even someone who suffers from severe Alzheimer’s disease, and can no longer speak or carry on conversations, can often still sing.
- Music improves awareness for the cognitively impaired: I’ve seen people with dementia and other conditions become more aware of their surroundings when they listen to the right music.
- Music allows the visually impaired to connect with their world: People with vision loss may miss out on the visual splendors around them, but piano music is incomparably vibrant to their ears.
- Music is a storehouse for memories: Images, thoughts and vivid memories can be encoded alongside music. When listening to specific music, I’ve had powerful emotions arise, allowing me to reminisce and even confront old memories that have haunted me for years.
- Music encourages physical activity: With the right beat, a lively piano piece can be enough to get a lethargic person out of their chair. After all, which is more fun, lifting weights in a silent room or dancing to ragtime music?
- Music improves sleep quality: I’ve always listened to soft music at bedtime. It serves as a soothing lullaby, no matter your age.
- Music brings people together: Piano playing has long been a social experience. Listening to and playing music as a group improves our communication and leads to a sense of unity, no matter the differences between us. That’s one reason why church congregations enjoy a sense of togetherness when they sing hymns in unison.
- Music has positive emotional effects: I have felt music’s emotionally healing power in my own life. It reduces my anxiety, stress and feelings of agitation or depression, as long as I choose the right music to listen to. It’s hard to beat a classical piece played on the piano, especially one that’s linked with a pleasant memory.
- Music provides intellectual stimulation: When I want a good mental workout, I listen to a complicated song with an interesting meter. The patterns and melodies stimulate the brain, which is healthy to experience at any age.
Clearly, piano music can makes a huge difference in the way you feel, whether you are young or old, healthy or ill, musically inclined or not. When have you experienced the healing power of music in your life or seen it in the lives of those around you? Please share with us!