Most of us have seen or heard of musicians who excel at playing multiple instruments including the keys. From John Lennon (The Beatles), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), to Eddie Van Halen, all of these artists and several more either regularly performed including the keys, or they were a significant part of their musical upbringing. So how can we wrap our heads around the multiple talents of these great artists? Let’s begin to scratch the surface by looking at today’s music education. At first, learning piano in conjunction with another instrument may sound like a learning overload or waste of time to, say, an improving guitar or saxophone student. However, doing so can actually accelerate his/her musical growth and understanding…and make playing even more fun! Here are the reasons why:
1. Viewing all of the notes consecutively
In contrast to most instruments, the piano gives all learners the ability to see several octaves of the musical alphabet right in front of them. So, it becomes easier to internalize how scales and chords work together, by seeing all of the notes they are comprised of in order from left to right.
2. Improving eye/hand coordination, finger dexterity
Playing piano demands a good amount of movement with both hands over a large area as learners improve. As scales and songs are learned by using both hands, this translates very nicely to several string and woodwind instruments, strengthening the fingers to hit the right notes more effortlessly.
3. Interval training, chord progressions
The piano allows learners to see the distances between notes, or what we call intervals. The feel of a piece of music and how it sounds is produced from this concept of intervals. Multiple notes with different distances between them will produce major or minor chords, extended chords, etc that are all clearly visible on the keyboard.
4. Allows for easy musical interaction within home
Piano in itself is accessible to playing notes immediately without having to learn a specific technique to playing. The keys are easily compressible, and 2 people can sit on the bench and play it at the same time if it is close to full size. This is inviting to the family atmosphere, as learners can show their family what they are learning with more clarity, and invite them to join with simple melodies, even to accompany other instruments in the home.
Hopefully these concepts can be helpful for families exploring ideas for involving music education in the home.
- Written by Travis Palladino, Founder & Director of Music Flow LLC