by Melanie Spanswick
I am always asked if the piano is worth learning. Is it possible to achieve anything? Is it a suitable hobby? Or something which children endure rather like maths at school!
There are so many reasons why both adults and children benefit from the study of a musical instrument. I look at these reasons in detail in my new book ‘So you want to play the piano?’ which will be available next month. However, in the meantime here are my top ten reasons to encourage you to learn the piano:
- Music brings us all so much happiness – it really is very central to our lives. It is important to be given the chance to make music because it can give us an emotional and creative outlet.
- Playing an instrument is an excellent source of pleasure and fulfilment and can provide a deep sense of satisfaction.
- The piano provides both melody and harmony, therefore it can be played solo without any accompaniment. This is not the case with many other musical instruments (like the clarinet or violin which only produce one line, usually the melody line, so an accompaniment is always needed).
- It is possible to make coherent sounds on the piano from the very beginning because it has ready-made pitches (you depress a key and it makes a sound) unlike other instruments where it can take many months of study before a pleasant sound is produced (this is true of brass and string instruments especially).
- Mastering the piano requires a tremendous amount of co-ordination (you really do have to multi-task!) so this can cultivate many useful mental skills. It really focuses the mind.
- It has been proved that children (and adults) who take part in musical activities are happier and more sociable than those who don’t.
- The study of music is an extension of the learning process so children who excel at piano playing often do well at school too.
- Playing the piano provides a ready made opportunity to perform. Performing is so important for everybody. If practised regularly, it builds confidence – which, as we all know, is crucial for success in all walks of life.
- It can develop a passion and an interest in life.
- It’s fun!
All you need to do now is motivate yourself to get playing. Good luck and have fun.
Melanie Spanswick is a concert pianist and writer. She studied at the Royal College of Music in London where she won many prizes including the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff prize for ‘the most outstanding postgraduate pianist of the year’, the Sir Arthur Bliss Award and a Leverhulme Trust Scholarship. At the RCM, Melanie obtained an MMus (RCM), GRSM (Hons), ARCM and a Dip RCM, studied the piano with Patricia Carroll, John Lill and Tatiana Sarkissova and has benefited from masterclasses by Tatiana Nikoleava, Melvyn Tan and Geoffrey Parsons.
More about Melanie here
Melanie blogs on pianism and music education at www.classicalmel.wordpress.com