I thought I’d begin a series exploring the key elements of my teaching philosophy and why I chose to include them.

1. Learning to play a musical instrument is a valuable component of a holistic education.

There are plenty of studies out there evaluating the question of whether music makes you “smarter.” Some claim it does. Others refute the idea that listening to Mozart will make you more intelligent. There is reason to believe that studying a musical instrument has a positive impact on your brain . . . whether that means it makes you “smarter,” who knows! Studies aside, what are the benefits of studying piano?

Education is not merely imparting information and transferring skill, but teaching to learn—the cultivating of thinking, analyzing, evaluating, and executing.

Learning piano engages many aspects of the mind and person.

It cultivates the imagination as students learn to communicate without words and connect with the music emotionally.

It develops hand-eye coordination as students learn to see lines and dots on a page and quickly translate them to physical motions at a keyboard in the correct rhythm.

Piano studies improve memory as students associate particular shapes and positions with their meanings, recognize patterns, and ultimately perform entire selections without the score.

Rhythm also allows students to embody an understanding of math and fractions.

Reading music helps the brain to process characters on a page and associate them with particular meanings and sounds. For young beginners, it helps solidify a basic familiarity with parts of the alphabet.

Piano, in particular, develops fine motor skills. Playing requires finger independence, and the slightest difference in touch will create varieties of sound, color, and character.

Growing in understanding requires experiencing the same concepts and ideas in various forms and contexts. Studying a musical instrument could help the brain learn to process information in new ways. And students could reap the benefits in other areas of life!

Stay tuned for the next element of my teaching philosophy!