Thursday, September 4, 2014

Richard C. Alston: Music.Mic: Science Shows How Piano Players' Brains Are Actually Different From Everybody Elses'

Richard C. Alston

Richard C. Alston writes:

Hello Friends and Musical Family,
Please read this article to fully understand what goes on in my head. (BIG SMILE)

Please share this with parents you may know whose son or daughter is taking piano lessons. 

By Jordan Taylor Sloan  

But while everyone grows out of braces, some people never recover from childhood piano lessons. This is, in part, because true pianists' brains are actually different from those of everyone else. In this series, we've already written about what makes guitarists' and drummers' brains unique, but playing keys is an entirely different beast. Drums are functionally pitchless and achordal, so pitch selection and chord voicings aren't part of the equation. Guitar only allows for six notes at once and heavily favors left-hand dexterity.

But piano is the ultimate instrument in terms of skill and demand: Two hands have to play together simultaneously while navigating 88 keys. They can play up to 10 notes at a time. To manage all those options, pianists have to develop a totally unique brain capacity — one that has been revealed by science.

Because both hands are required to be equally active for pianists' to master their instrument, they have to overcome something innate to almost every person: right or left-handedness.

[Click on author's name to read full article]

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