The piano: the principal prelude to musical prowess

By Ande Jacobson

There is no question that music touches us deeply. There are also myriad studies showing the cognitive benefits of listening, but there are even more benefits when actively participating in making music. For the purposes of this discussion, the assumption is that the reader, for whatever reason, is now intent on learning to play a musical instrument. Whether their goal is personal or professional, an initial instrument must be chosen, i.e., they have to start somewhere. This commentary proposes that the piano be that starting point.

There can be many goals such as:

  • Mastering the piano and all of its intricacies;
  • Composing music;
  • Playing the guitar, or bass, or drums in a rock band;
  • Playing the violin, or cello, or bassoon in a symphony orchestra;
  • Playing the clarinet or trumpet in a wind band;
  • Playing the saxophone or trombone in a jazz band;
  • Conducting a band or an orchestra;
  • Teaching music;
  • Becoming a music therapist;
  • Developing more tools for connecting with family and friends;
  • Mastering one’s voice for the theater, the opera, or that rock combo.

No matter the goal, the piano is still the best prelude for all of it. It can take a lifetime to master the piano (if one ever truly does). Even when one studies it as a stepping stone to any other musical endeavor, the foundation that piano study helps to build makes everything else much easier to learn. Continue reading

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