The Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area is known for its tendency towards innovation, so it comes as no surprise that once again residents are looking for the next big thing. Piano lessons, once thought to grow musicians or simply help students to fill out their college applications, are now being touted as the new way to help students develop their minds. Experts and parents alike are rallying behind the principles learned in piano playing and how they can be used to help students think harder and smarter in other areas.
How The Piano Teaches Problem-Solving
While many simply focus on the art of piano playing, piano instructors tend to focus on the technical skills it requires. When your child sits down to practice a new piece at the piano, they are not just learning how to repeat what someone else has done. Playing the piano requires a remarkable amount of problem-solving, particularly as students begin to learn whole songs. As they learn, they will need to break down each song into smaller components, ultimately finding the way that the music flows together from one area to the next. Actively practicing problem-solving is a skill that students can carry to any facet of their lives.
Supporting Critical Thinking With Piano Lessons
In the same way that playing the piano relies heavily on problem-solving, it also focuses on critical thinking. Whether a student is learning to read music and translate it into a physical process or they are working out how a collection of notes in quick succession flow together, it takes quite a bit of concentration. As students develop their skills, both in playing music and designing their own, they learn to focus and think through complex processes to make it all possible.
Piano As A Path To Musical Independence
Musical independence is a popular topic among musical education experts and it is one that many programs, like Oclef, a top piano school in the SF Bay, are looking to foster. Students at Oclef aim for independence by leveling-up through a stage by stage curriculum design. Although they started the education company on solving drop-out in piano, Oclef’s two co-founders, Julian Toha and Phong Le, are now focused on Student Independence. After years of serving the industry with their software app, they learned that “Student Independence was really the North Star of Piano Education and all education for that matter”.
In order for a student to gain musical independence, they must be able to interact with the music that they seek to understand without a need for external help. “But that’s just the start. They need to be able to read it, break it down, analyze it, solve technical and musical problems and think critically about how to produce art out of paper with dots and lines on it.” says Julian Toha of Oclef.
It is the point where a student can transition from being led to truly comprehending and breaking down music for themselves. It is not only present in their depth of understanding, but also in active practice as independent piano players. Piano playing does not just help the mind to evolve and grow, but can ultimately lead students to connect with and understand music on an unparalleled level.
Experts are constantly looking for new ways to foster the untapped potential that is present within the minds of students. Parents are always seeking new ways to give their children an advantage in life and to help them grow their minds. Piano playing is a skill that supports critical thinking, active problem solving, and creative independence on top of it. With this in mind, it stands to reason that piano might just be the perfect extracurricular for students who are aspiring to surpass their peers and chase their dreams.
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