In the past recent years, the annual American Psychiatric Conference has featured a musical instrument that has been part of my journey as a person. Here’s the thing — not a lot of people expected the presence of this musical instrument (the piano) in the conferences including me.
Regarding the instrument, I learned to play it in kindergarten and continued doing so ‘til my college years. Although I immensely enjoy the activity, I did not indulge in it to have therapy. I played the instrument because I love doing it and because at an early age, I discovered I was musically inclined.
In one of these conferences, several booths are provided with pianos, so anytime (if they feel like it) therapists get away from their desks to take a break and relax by piano playing, or if they can’t, they listen to piano music. Al Bumanis, a communications director for the American Music Therapy Association, shared this interesting info.
“The idea,” Bumanis adds, “is that the psychiatrist can come by the booth to de-stress.” Psychiatrists utilizing the piano as a tool to de-stress is an unorthodox idea by all angles. And, obviously, something that many people are not prepared to accept. But, to me, at least, it’s a great endorsement for the musical instrument’s ability to soothe a troubled spirit.
Remembering the feeling now, I was enthralled by the power of the instrument to somehow transport you to another place and time. As a young child, I have felt like I was in another era when I played waltzes composed by Beethoven himself. Now, if only I have known that playing this wonderful instrument is therapeutic. I would have continued doing so. Being able to learn all these positive things about playing the piano, I’m motivated to go back playing it.
There are more interesting findings of the benefits of playing the piano. This time it comes from the AMC Music News through the kindness of the staff of the site The Right Chord: “Music making makes adults healthier. There are significant decreases in anxiety, depression, and loneliness following keyboard lessons. These are factors that are critical in coping with stress, stimulating the immune system, and in improved health. Results also show significant increases in human growth hormones following the same keyboard lessons. (Human growth hormone is implicated in aches and pains.)“ — Dr. Frederick Tims, reported in AMC Music News, June 2, 1999
Ok... so piano playing has been proven that it can improve health in general, don’t you think it’s wise to go into it, finally if you have not tried it yet? I think you should and don’t delay.
I’m a freelance writer and there are times I am overwhelmed by writing assignments. There comes a point in a month when I feel extremely tired from writing all those articles, web copy, other blog content, etc.
I believe it’s not too late to go back to exploring music again. This time fully aware of the healing that piano playing can miraculously do for my weary soul. This time I can do it to de-stress and get away from it all. Well, I know this will require a small investment to buy a decent piano and to care for it. But, thinking about the intrinsic benefits, it will be all worth it!
“Playing the piano has always added joy to people’s lives, but we’re just beginning to understand the full range of its benefits,” says Brenda Dillon of the National Piano Foundation. “When I play the piano, I can get away from the daily challenges. It’s like taking a mini-vacation. By the time I walk away from the piano, I am truly relaxed.”
While researching for this blog post, I also discovered something light and enlightening from the site Piano Therapy Plus about piano therapy: A premise of piano therapy is: Learning to play the piano is fun! The piano itself stirs curiosity and inspires self-initiated learning. Piano Therapy creates a fun environment that is personalized to the individual, motivates learning, instills confidence, builds self-esteem, and encourages smiles and laughter.
With all these amazing and wonderful facts about playing the piano, if you are not yet motivated to enroll next month, I believe you will miss a lot.
Photo Title: Gala Concert 2012/Photo Credit: vivianhir