Music is good for you 😊
People who listen to music to de-stress don’t need a study to prove this, but it’s still nice to know that science backs this up. A 2013 meta-analysis of 400 studies confirmed that music both relieves stress and improves immune function. The body produces less cortisol (stress hormone) and more immunoglobulin A and killer T cells when in the presence of music.
Piano lowers stress…better than other things 🎹
Now this is a win for piano! In one study, college students’ cortisol levels were measured before and after doing artistic activities. The activities were playing piano, sculpture, and calligraphy. All subjects had some experience with their assigned activity, but none were professionals. A control group sat in silence.
Remarkably, the piano playing group experienced far larger drops in cortisol levels than the sculpture and calligraphy groups. So there is definitely something powerful about playing a musical instrument.
Piano as mindfulness 😌
Mindfulness is a popular and effective practice. It means paying attention to the present moment, without judgement. The good thing about mindfulness is that you don’t need to sit in the lotus position and do nothing. You can practice mindfulness through walking, eating, and of course, piano playing!
When you play music, pay attention to the sensations in your body. If you notice you’re holding stress in an area, try to let it go. Focus on the nuances of each note you play:, articulation, phrasing, and so on.
Music may ease pain 🤕
Mental and physical health are connected, and chronic pain can really diminish a person’s quality of life. Studies suggest that music may have a small but significant effect on reducing pain. A theory is that music stimulates a person’s senses other than pain, thereby drawing attention away from the pain.
Music can help you sleep 😴
Good sleep is essential to both physical and mental health. Studies suggest that music helps people fall asleep and improves quality of sleep. Again, this may be tied to cortisol: decreasing cortisol through music may make it easier to fall asleep.
However, other studies have found that listening to music right before bed can give you earworms (when a song gets stuck in your head) and lead to poorer sleep quality. So, along with everything else on this list, do what works for you.
Playing piano stabilizes brain degeneration in older adults 🧠
In one study, older adults were sorted into two groups. One group received weekly, hour-long piano lessons for six months and practiced for 30 minutes a day. The other group attended lessons on music history, culture, and appreciation. At the end of the six months, the fornix (a white matter tract in the brain) of the second group’s participants declined. But the group that got piano lessons did not experience the same effect.
Music therapy can treat depression 🙂
Music therapy has been around for a long time. In fact, it was first recognized by the United States War Department in 1945. The benefits of music have been studied for a while and there are now several different types and techniques.
When combined with conventional treatments, music therapy has been shown to effectively treat symptoms of depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. And no, you don’t have to be a skilled musician to benefit from music therapy!