We asked people to choose a stringed instrument to begin their studies on. They chose piano (17%), and violin (19%). They were then told to perform both their instrument and piano by hand in order to gain experience. The researchers found that both piano and violin students learned new skills at a slightly quicker rate.
“The findings suggest that learning skills from music teachers can be helpful both in building new skills and in improving the skills of those who already display good performance. These results may help both musicians and general education teachers to implement music curricula that focus on acquiring language skills in music” said co-author, Dr. Ayla Shnagl and Ms. Saira Chaudhry from the McGill University.
The findings were presented at the American Psychological Association’s annual conference in San Francisco, CA.
Dr. Saira Chaudhry is a co-author of the study: http://www.nature.com/nge/journal/v18/n11/full/nge.2149.html
“Playing the piano can be a challenging occupation because in our case it is a complex instrument that requires lots of practice and mastery over the basics of the sound and technique. It would be desirable to combine learning it with learning a simple and easily playable instrument. This study provides evidence to support the idea that learning to play the piano should be combined with playing a simple and easily playable instrument”, said Dr. Shnagl.
Shnagl, A (2012), Playing the piano can be a challenging occupation because in our case it is a complex instrument that requires lots of practice and mastery over the basics of the sound and technique. It would be desirable to combine learning it with playing a simple and easily playable instrument.
Munro, P, Saira-Chaudhry, S. (2012), Learning from playing piano can be a challenge, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/08/22/1729680110.full.pdf, (accessed June 22, 2012)
The paper “Learning to Play the Piano: The Effects of Instruction and Experience” was originally published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/08/22/1729680110.full
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