CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — If you are like many other people in Southern Utah – and the world at large – wondering what to do with your children as you are trying to social distance yourselves from others, you might want to consider having your children learn music.
According to John Sato at the Piano Gallery of St. George, having the kids home for an extended period of time could be a long-term blessing for you and for them. Sato said that while they only sell pianos at their St. George location, he thinks music of all forms can be a benefit to all ages.
“I am a true advocate of playing an instrument, be it brass, wind, guitar, strings, voice or piano,” he said. “The benefits are great and now is a great time to start.”
Sato became a resident of St. George 25 years ago, originally moving to the area to teach piano at Tuacahn High School for the Arts in 1995. He said in the years since, he has also been very privileged to teach music at eight elementary schools in the Washington County School District and had a wonderful time meeting with the students.
His hope is that with just a little bit of time, everyone might consider having music be a bigger part of their children and grandchildren’s lives – “especially while you are trying to find something for them to do.”
The benefits of learning to play the piano
Being able to multitask is a skill that people admire. All pianists can multitask, as they use both hands, both feet, read both the treble and bass clefs, keep a beat and play both loud and soft. And they do this all at once – quite an impressive thing.
Studies show that playing the piano can also relieve stress and help improve mental health. People who play the piano seem to have less anxiety and depression than people who do not play an instrument, Sato said, adding that people who play once a day for even just a few minutes will feel more positive and have a better outlook on life.
This can translate into other areas of life as well. Students that play the piano have consistently had better scores on standardized test than those who have not had music lessons and have better retention of information in college. Sato said:
Playing the piano changes the brain in a positive way. Studies show that music stimulates the brain in a way no other activity does. While playing a piece on the piano, you are adding new neural connections, which primes your brain for other forms of communication. So while you think you are just working on a particularly tough piano piece, you are also improving your memory, attention, speech, language, spatial and math skills, and even the ability to vocally convey emotions.
But during a time when experts are advising people to also remember self-care, there is one benefit that shouldn’t be ignored.
“Playing the piano is really fun,” Sato said. “So come on into the Piano Gallery and see Joe or me, and see how much money we can save you and how much fun learning can be.”
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