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Making a Game Out of Playing the Piano

Updated on February 2, 2015
Learning to play the piano is a popular skill that many people wish they could do. However, not all who want to learn, do actually get a chance to.
Learning to play the piano is a popular skill that many people wish they could do. However, not all who want to learn, do actually get a chance to.

The Dream of Becoming a Musician

Many people would love to become a musician, but the process of learning an instrument can be arduous. Those who are lucky enough to have lessons as children often end up remembering about fights with their parents over practice sessions than they do about actually playing. Recent projects like Khan Academy and Duolingo, however, have shown that the right tools can make learning a lot more fun and engaging. People who want to learn to play the piano can now use similar tools to make a game out of building their skills while still gaining all of the benefits of learning to play an instrument.

Build Your Brain with Music

Numerous school science projects have been based on the idea that plants might grow better when exposed to music. There's much stronger research, though, behind the idea that people who learn to play the piano will improve their brains in the process. A study by the University of Toronto professor, E. Glenn Schellenberg, showed that children who spent nine months in music lessons gained three IQ points compared to their untrained peers. Other research, focused on twins, has revealed an association between musical skill and a reduction in the likelihood of getting dementia.

Music seems to be a particularly good way of challenging your brain on a number of levels simultaneously. When someone sits down to learn the piano, he has to build the skills required to read the music, understand how the notes relate to one another, keep track of the keys, and maintain an extraordinary level of coordination between his hands while they’re often playing entirely different patterns. The result of having to rise to this kind of challenge is that people become more mentally resilient and flexible.

Making it Easier to Get the Benefits

Even people who realize that these benefits exist rarely follow through with learning to play an instrument. The simple problem is that regular practice, while crucial, can feel tedious. This is where a piece of piano learning software is doing something extraordinary; it's turning an activity that people often find tedious into something a lot more engaging and fun.

YouTube sensation, David Sides learned to play piano at the early age of 10. Now he is a piano instructor, teaching others how to play through Playground Sessions.
YouTube sensation, David Sides learned to play piano at the early age of 10. Now he is a piano instructor, teaching others how to play through Playground Sessions.

The developers of Playground Sessions were inspired by both the Guitar Hero game, in which people emulate playing a guitar using a plastic controller, and learning tools like Khan Academy. They wondered whether the kind of fun that so many people got from Guitar Hero could be translated into a program that would teach the use of a real instrument. By working with renowned musician, Quincy Jones, as well as YouTube piano star, David Sides, they've put together a program that is designed to build skills without ever feeling like work.

For people who have always wanted to learn to play the piano, this is a way of building skill without having to feel like the fun part won't start for years. It's all of the benefit of learning an instrument, without the tedium and toil.

David Sides Cover of "All of Me" by John Legend

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