We often read about the special benefits we get from being pianists and musicians, because there are really so many and there is so much more study about this topic that we learn more each day it seems.
Much of the research has shown the physiological advantages of music on our brains and our physical health and growth. We also know that pianists and musicians tend to have healthier emotional lives, more positive thoughts about handling life and its challenges, and greater problem solving skills that benefit our relationships with family, friends, and coworkers.
Sometimes though, it's important to do your own research from a personal perspective to look for the specific benefits because each of us as individuals have our own special needs, strengths, weaknesses. What special unique things has being a pianist or a musician, into your life?
Let me share with you a little of what I've just discovered that is possible the greatest gift that being a musician has brought to me.
I'm sitting on a porch of a lovely Southern Coastal town beach house, while 20+ other people are laughing, cooking, swimming, eating, etc...between 2 houses that we are sharing for the week. The main reason for this trip is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of dear friends. This couple's 3 adult children are here, with their own children; plus lifelong friends from all over the country. The one binding thing between all of these people and myself, is music. We're ALL musicians. Most of us are music teachers. There are pianists, violinists, cellists, brass players, guitarists, and more here...all at the same time.
Although we're not here to "do" music together, we're all here together, because we're musicians.
I sat last night and watched one grandchild take a cello lesson from a teacher that had taught his mother, and even grandfather. His mother is a music teacher. It was what I call one of those "expanding" moments, where my heart felt like it grew and my perspective changed a bit. I have family.
The "ties that bind" became the "notes that blend"...and I saw before me an incredible handmade quilt made through at least 50 years of practicing, teaching, creating, and making music in the world somehow, together and through each other. And because of my own music blending with theirs, I get my own little square in that same quilt.
You see, through all of those wonderful "big picture" benefits that science is discovering about music in our lives...some of the most important ones are those very personal and unique ones that only we can see through our own observation and experiencing. We have to become our own researchers in a way, to truly understand what special gifts playing the piano is bringing to us, and often times, they are right there in front of us, we just haven't seen them yet.
Take some time this week and look at your life...what does playing the piano bring to your life...specifically? Are there voids in your life that you are now discovering piano is helping to fill? Are you making life long connections with people that can become family to you? Do you think about how your teaching piano will effect the children of your students?
The gifts of music are many. They are not limited by age or time. I even think they change as we grow and age in life, seemingly able to take on new form with an endless supply.
Can you see the gifts in your own life?
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