This week brings us into the 2015 Holiday season with Thanksgiving upon us and Christmas just a little over a month away! Our time will be spent celebrating with friends and family and filled with lots of activities and places to be. For many, this time of year can be incredibly stressful and it can also be a sad time for those that have lost loved ones or are alone. Whatever the case may be, those of you that are taking online piano lessons or lessons with a physical teacher, will be able to sail through the emotional bumps during the holidays by playing your piano!
Several studies in recent years have shown what positive benefits of playing an instrument such as the piano have on mood, in relieving stress, and enhancing mental well-being. Depression, loneliness, anxiety and other emotional and mental issues can be directly affected by playing the piano. Studies have also shown that ongoing playing of the piano and other instruments help to prevent future depression.
Barry Bittman, MD, CEO and President of the Yamaha Music & Wellness Institute, published a study in 2005 that showed “for the first time that playing a musical instrument reverses multiple elements of the human stress response on the genomic level. Stress-reduction was far greater for individuals participating in their first group keyboard lesson than for subjects who simply relaxed and read newspapers and magazines.”
Not only does playing piano help to relieve stress and emotional reactions, it also helps us to have better relationships with others. Prof. Susan Hallam (Institute of Education, University of London) published a book called, “The Power of Music” in January of this year. The book presents findings from a year- long study that involved 500 participants that were practicing leisure activities such as yoga, reading, and playing the piano or another instrument. Her research found that “those who played instruments were found to have more positive relationships with other people and a brighter outlook, and derived more enjoyment from their sessions than those in the less creative activities.”
So what does this mean for all of you that are taking online piano lessons or lessons in a physical studio?
Be encouraged and inspired! You have a wonderful tool that can help you get through the stress that comes with the Holidays and a way to have more meaningful and deeper connections with your family and friends by sharing what you’ve learned on the piano with them. Perhaps you can make it a goal to learn a few specific songs this year that would be meaningful to your family, or you could prepare some Holiday piano music to play at your local senior center or in your community’s food and housing shelters. You can really brighten someone else’s day by giving them a gift of online piano lessons too, and then you’ll get the pleasure of watching them reap all the wonderful benefits of playing the piano, which is good for everyone!
Share some times that you’ve experienced stress release or counteracted the blues by playing your piano, in our comments section below!
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