As part of a brain fitness program for seniors, learning piano lessons for beginners improves cognitive functioning as well as playing a vital role in the mind-body connection. When we learn something new at any age the brain, which thrives on stimulation, receives a "workout" that optimizes blood flow, neuronal connections and helps maintain our ability to perceive many different things simultaneously.
Age and Perception
As we age, we tend to combine sensory input rather than differentiate it because it is easier and puts less strain on our faltering senses. However, this eventually causes issues with attention and focus, which is why seniors often encounter difficulty driving.
When driving, seniors find it easier to concentrate on one thing rather than distractions on the periphery. However, learning how to play an instrument, paint pictures or write poetry all represent methods with which the detrimental effects of degenerative diseases associated with aging are effectively prevented.
Active Means Healthy
Active retirement living not only means exercising the body, but also the mind. Dozens of published studies validate the beneficial effects the brain and body have on each other. Results indicate that a healthy body contributes to a well-functioning, optimistically thinking brain, while a brain that regularly participates in cognitive-enhancing exercises experiences less memory problems and actually encourages the body to be more active.
Benefits of Beginning Piano for Seniors
Take a moment to look at the picture to the right. Imagine yourself sharing what you have learned with a grandchild. It doesn't get better than that. In years to come that child will think back and say "I remember when..."
Engaging in piano lessons for beginners thus provides both physical and mental stimulation for senior citizens, including:
- Increase of coordination ability--hands must be directed by the brain to behave independently of each other.
- Increase of hearing ability--by focusing on the interplay of sounds and musical progression, seniors are "retraining" their ears to detect unfamiliar tones and pitches, which also stimulates the brain.
- Exercises visual muscles and perception--when playing the piano, the eyes must focus on interpreting the musical notes. This perception sends messages to the brain that, in turn, relays commands to the hands.
- Increase of social interaction--whether taking group lessons, one on one lessons or lessons with a grandchild, taking piano lessons for beginners provides seniors, who are at risk for isolation and depression, with the health advantages of human contact.
- Increase of finger and hand strength--you don't need nimble fingers to begin playing the piano, but as you continue with lessons, you will find that you
What Your Brain Looks Like When Playing Piano
Basics of Piano Playing
It is never too late in life to learn how to play the piano. Most people are playing simple songs within a week of learning a few chords and musical notes. Basic information about the piano includes:
- Keys on the left-hand side of the piano are lower in pitch, while those on the right are higher.
- There are 88 keys on a piano.
- The "middle C" is the first note you will learn.
- White keys contain "natural" notes--A, B, C, D, E, F and G.
- Black keys represent tones in between natural notes.
- If a black key lies to the left of a white key, it is called "flat".
- If a black key lies to the right of a white key, it is known as "sharp".
- Notes on a piano are arranged in a pattern, which is learned by repetition and practice. Notes A through G are simply repeated in this pattern
Learning and Fun
Piano lessons for beginners start with these fundamental instruction regarding piano playing. However, lessons also allow you to set your own pace by moving on to the next lesson only when you feel comfortable enough to do so.
Aging does not erect boundaries, but rather creates the key to unlock those old doors that you once thought were locked for life. With age comes a sense of meaning, patience, maturity, enthusiasm and a desire to learn something new. However, this desire is no longer based on the rewards of winning, i.e., a trophy, a scholarship, increased status in society. Rather this desire is based on feeling good about yourself and the fact that creative self-expression and accomplishment contributes to leading a long and satisfying life.
As part of the wonderful experience of aging, taking piano lessons for beginners is a wonderful way to unlock those doors and begin making that music you have always wanted to play on a piano.
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