Plenty of studies show how spending time at the piano keyboard can be immensely beneficial to your mental health. In general, people who create, play, and listen to piano music deal with less loneliness, anxiety, and depression. But why is the piano such an excellent source of stress relief? We’ll take a look at the various opportunities the piano gives you to feel better about yourself and improve your mental state.
Listening to music
While most people consider the myriad benefits of playing the piano, there’s actually another equally important side of that coin — when you play the piano, you’re also listening to the music. And you’re not listening to it casually either. You’re fully immersed in every note as well as the overall tune.
Having so much music in your ears day in and day out is hugely beneficial to your mental health. And this isn’t some new-age, spiritual theory either — it’s a proven scientific fact. A 2013 study on the impact of music on our stress responses has demonstrated that music is a calming, positive influence.
The study compared how people responded to relaxing music, as opposed to other sound effects (like rippling water) or complete silence. And the results showed that music was the best auditory stimulation for reducing stress. If you would like to speak to a professional, those at Clarity Clinic would be more than happy to assist.
The piano and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Our mental health is, among other things, dependent on how well we fulfill our personal Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. And this psychological model of our needs contains plenty of feelings that playing the piano helps with.
For instance, self-actualization — in other words, confidence — is one of the main needs of a happy human being, according to Maslow’s famous theory. And learning to play an instrument represents a huge confidence boost, especially once you summon the courage to play it in front of others. That’s why even the most basic piano lessons for beginners can quickly bring some tangible mental health benefits, particularly for people who have always wanted to play the piano and have that as a lifelong goal.
And self-actualization isn’t the only basic human need that the piano can help you fulfill. For instance, the Maslow model also describes the need for a sense of belongingness — in simpler terms, the need for a healthy social life.
Luckily, music is almost a social activity by default. People learn to play together, and they sometimes even play in bands. Playing the piano can be an excellent way to bond with your peers with similar interests — and piano lessons are a great way to meet new people as well.
People with anxieties often need an accompanying activity that lessens the internal burden of interacting with new people — a struggle that’s easier to overcome when you’ve all got a common activity.