[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Linda Ritter from PianoNadu.com.]
It takes a certain amount of talent to become a successful musician. Not to mention the patience and dedication that you need when you first start. However, there are some things that can help you to become a better guitarist, violinist, cellist and so on.
One of these is to learn the piano. Yes, it’s just another instrument but there are several reasons that may convince you that no matter what instrument you may prefer, the skills that you learn while taking on the piano can help you become a better musician overall.
For the benefit of musicians everywhere, we’ve put together an easily digestible list of the five biggest reasons why every musician, from wind specialists to those with a string preference, can benefit from adding the piano to their arsenal.
1. Understanding Music Theory
One of the biggest reasons why musicians should consider taking up the piano is the huge help that it provides to your ability to build a strong understanding of music theory. All of the keys and notes are clearly laid out in the proper order on a piano which makes learning scales and chords a much easier task.
You can still be a great musician without musical theory knowledge — but knowing more about your craft can’t hurt, right? Some musicians insist that they find musical theory and reading and writing music to be unnecessary in their endeavors. So, as with most things related to music, it’s really subjective but the safer route is definitely to make sure that you know your basics.
2. It Helps With Songwriting
Knowing how to play the piano can be a huge boost to your songwriting, possibly even dislodging writer’s block. Your left hand will help you to create the bass line that you’re looking for while your right can mix it up and try out different melodies.
The piano is one of the only instruments that allows you to play chords as well as different melodies at once, allowing you to hear how the different parts of your arrangement are interacting. Thanks to the sustain pedal, the piano can play every single key at the same time, allowing you the widest range of musical options possible to inspire your song writing.
This will help you to work through your song’s vocal melody, because unlike nearly all other instruments, you can play the full thing — chords as well as melodies — all at once and get feedback on your choices and mixes as you go.
3. Easier To Learn
No instrument is straight-up ‘easy’ to learn. More often than not, it takes a lot of time and patience to master. That being said, the piano is generally considered to be a foundational instrument for musicians and for good reason: the piano is a little bit simpler to learn relative to most other instruments.
With string instruments, you have to have the proper finger placement and/or strumming technique to get a note right. With winds, you don’t just have to get your hands right. You also have to get your mouth and air output correct. With a piano, all you have to do is touch the keys.
Not only that, but all of the keys are clearly laid out for you in alternating colors. It’s an especially good choice to pick up as a secondary instrument because you can jump right in and be pretty decent when starting out.
4. Improved Hand Independence
Hand independence is a great tool to have as a musician, no matter what kind of instrument you intend to specialize in. Playing the piano is a great way to hone this skill. The piano, along with the drums, are really the only two instruments that will give you a boost in this area.
Having good hand independence means that you’re able to do two different things with your hands at once and do both those things well. You can only get strong ambidextrous skills by playing either the piano or the drums. This skills will come in handy when you play nearly any other instrument.
This is real multitasking at its finest and truest. It works both sides of your brain, which is also a positive point. Depending on which instrument you prefer, this skill can be either mildly or extremely helpful.
5. Learning Standard Notation
As mentioned earlier, there’s no one correct way to go about your musical journey but there are some things that you can generally expect to help you on the way to musical success. One of these things is standard notation. Like musical theory, it is not completely necessary to learn but it can be a big help.
If you’re a musician and you haven’t gotten into standard notation before, the piano is probably the simplest way to learn it. While some instruments will only teach you about one clef, learning standard notation on a piano will introduce you to both clefs. It also helps you to learn music through both your left and right hands.
Many will overlook learning standard notation but if you’re going to be learning the piano, you can learn both in tandem. It’s a very helpful tool to be able to read music in standard notation because of how commonly it is found around the world.
Countless famous musicians and songwriters have been known to sit at the piano from time to time. That’s because of how helpful it is to know how to play the piano. It can lend you an enormous level of assistance in your song writing process while also helping both your hands and your mind become more adaptable musically.
Learning music and becoming successful with your music is tough, no matter what. However, with all of the benefits that the piano can give you as a musician — not to mention the relative ease with which musicians can learn the instrument — it’s hard to argue against adding the piano to your musical arsenal.
Linda Ritter is a piano lover who is currently a content contributor at PianoNadu.com. She also collaborates with several musicians and brands.