Article Written by Guest Author – Crystal Casey
There are so many reasons that piano is the number one choice of instrument. To list just a few piano facts, roughly 25% of the world’s population plays the piano, and it’s estimated that at least 28% of US households own one.
Why Do So Many People Choose the Piano?
Here are a few popular reasons why many people may want to take piano lessons over other instruments that we’ll explore further:
- Musical versatility: The piano is a versatile instrument that can be used to play a wide range of musical styles, from classical to pop, jazz, blues, and more.
- Ease of learning: Compared to some other instruments, such as the violin or the trumpet, the mechanics of the piano can be easier to learn for beginners. The layout of the keys and the fact that the notes are visible on the keyboard can make it easier to understand the basics of music theory.
- Personal satisfaction: Playing the piano can be a fulfilling and satisfying experience. Many people enjoy the challenge of learning a new skill and the sense of accomplishment that comes with mastering a piece of music.
The Piano is a Versatile Instrument
Piano is popular to this day because it is one of the only instruments that a single musician can play both melody and harmony (accompaniment) on. Imagine how exciting this would have been for early average musicians and songwriters who, up until the Industrial Revolution, often only had small instruments like the lute, flute, or violin at their fingertips. The piano is the perfect instrument for composers as it encompasses practically all notes available for composition on all instruments, allows one to play harmonies and chords as well as melodies, and is easy to sing along with. This is why the vast majority of professional musicians, even those whose principal instrument is something else, also play at least a little bit of piano.
Is Learning The Piano Easier?
Many music students start with piano because it’s so user-friendly. It’s both physically easy to play and mentally easy to understand. Students as young as age 4 (and even 3 sometimes) can press a key and understand the concept of creating beautiful tones. Other instruments are far more difficult, next to impossible, to begin so early. Have you ever seen a 3-year-old playing the trombone? If your answer is no, there’s a good reason for that!
Instruments that can be started at an early age, such as the violin, are far more difficult because their design is more abstract. It’s very easy to find a C on the piano, and almost anyone can do it. But how many people can easily find a C on the violin? The music theory is literally laid out in black and white across the keyboard. Concepts like semitones, tones, and intervals; scales and modes; chords, inversions, and arpeggios; accidentals; and even the Circle of Fifths and how it relates to key signatures can be clearly seen and understood by looking at the piano keyboard. Players of stringed instruments, horns, and percussion are not granted the same luxury. This is why many students who take lessons in guitar, violin, voice, drums, or other instruments often also take piano lessons. And it’s a good idea. Musicians who understand the piano, understand music theory far better than those who do not.
“I was so impressed and delighted by the experience I had! I was thoroughly impressed by the experience and would highly recommend to anyone looking for music lessons. I grew in confidence in just three lessons!” Tesni from Connecticut
Playing The Piano is Fun
All of the above makes the piano a uniquely enjoyable instrument to play and learn. Piano music can be played alone with no other accompaniment to great enjoyment. The clarinet, for example, is a beautiful instrument, but one rarely plays it without fellow musicians accompanying. With nothing but a piano, you can be a one-man-band, accompany your clarinet-playing friends, or compose a symphony. There is no other instrument that is so versatile and all-encompassing.
What About the Expense of Piano Lessons?
It’s true, piano lessons are not particularly cheap. The average piano lesson costs from around $40 to $100 per hour, with most beginners starting at one half hour lesson per week and intermediate to advanced students taking 45 min to 1 hour lessons weekly. However, when we compare this expense to the cost of other extracurricular activities for youth, it’s not outrageous. Lessons in academic subjects and other instruments including the voice cost about the same as piano. The average for all sports is close to $1,000 per year. Ice hockey averages at $2,583 per year. Competitive dance can range from $2,000 to over $10,000 per year!
If money is a concern, there are ways to make piano lessons more affordable. Newer, younger teachers often charge less than seasoned pro teachers. Online lessons tend to be more cost effective than in-person lessons in a few ways. First, the cost itself is sometimes less. Second, families save on gas money and time having their child learn from the comfort of home. There are also group lessons which tend to cost less than private lessons, although bear in mind the lessons won’t be tailored to the individual. Be sure to check with your child’s school, charter school, or co-op as some of these institutions provide scholarships and grants for private lessons.
Whatever the cost, piano lessons are worth it for those students who want to learn and are reaping the many benefits of learning piano.
Why Should Someone Take Piano Lessons?
Piano lessons are not just good for budding musicians and those who want to understand music theory or compose symphonies. Children who take piano lessons train their brains in memory, creativity, coordination, time management, self-awareness, and fine motor skills. Studies show that playing the piano changes the cortical mapping in the brain, which improves hand-eye coordination across the board. That means piano players see benefits in almost every tactile aspect of their lives from playing sports and games to crafting to building and repairing things.
Students of piano learn the importance of a good work ethic, a sense of grit, the power of practice and self-motivation, and improve their skills in other academic subjects such as math, reading, and language. Studying piano drastically improves verbal memory in particular. Learning to play the piano also benefits students’ self-esteem, and it’s a relaxing activity that alleviates anxiety, lethargy, and depression.
These are benefits that students carry with them for a lifetime, many of which will last whether the student continues playing piano into adulthood or not. If your child is showing an interest in music, piano lessons are the best place to start. And if your child is already taking lessons in another instrument, piano lessons are recommended as a co-requisite.