The Music Junction | Piano Lessons | Voice Lessons | Burbank | Hollywood | Charissa Vaughan-Wheeler
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Author: Charissa Vaughan-Wheeler

Research shows that piano lessons are recommended for the development of fine motor skills.  So, how can that enhance our lives?  Most of us use very specific finger movements all day to control our phones, laptops, tablets, etc.  If we observed our speed in operating our devices with those around us, we would notice a difference in speed depending on each persons fine motor ability.  What if you could type 50% faster?  That could have a pretty big affect on the time you spend on your computer at work or at home - it could shave hours off your day.  For children, fine motor skills are even more important as they struggle to use their fingers just to tie their shoes. Eugenia Costa-Giomi (PhD Ohio State University) reports research comparing the motor skills of children who took piano instruction for a two year period, versus those who didn't, in her article "Does Music Instruction Improve Fine Motor Abilities?" published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.  She recorded "a significant improvement in fine motor skills was found only for the children who received the lessons, and a significant difference in the speed of response was found between the two groups at the end of the two years of instruction. The innumerable opportunities to assess, refine, and time their motor responses to specific stimuli during musical practice and the availability of constant evaluative feedback (i.e., sound) may allow musicians to improve the accuracy and speed of perceiving and responding to relevant stimuli."

NaturalHealth365 reports:
Many tasks such as verbal skills or visual skills are clearly ‘left’ brain or ‘right’ brain; however listening to or playing music requires the use of both sides of the brain. The right side of the brain is responsible for musical tone, natural rhythm and musical passion while the left side of the brain handles musical melody, musical rhythm and tempo as well as musical notes. So how does this help with autism? Harvard Medical School Professor Dr. Martha R. Herbert, states “Brain cells need to follow a regular rhythm to produce a response in the brain. For people with autism, there is less coordination of this rhythm from one point to another. Music helps by creating an organized and regular stimulus to the brain that helps the brain get organized to keep track of the rhythm.” Can music improve communication skills in children? According to Empirical Musicology Review which published a German paper that looked at the impact of music on children with autism, two major areas of improvement are noted when music therapy is started on children with autism. First, communication and language skills are improved in as few as ten music therapy sessions. They found a significant positive relationship between musical vocal skills and nonmusical speech production skills and researchers believe this is because music bypasses speech and language barriers in individuals with autism. Second, music therapy helps to improve socio-behavior skills – such as reducing off-task behaviors; problematic classroom behavior; emotion recognition; improving eye contact and increasing the initiation of interactions by children with autism. Researchers have found that rhythmic entrainment is the most helpful for improving social behavior because it helps the mind and body to relax and re-entrains the body to its natural rhythmic patterns. A study published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis states that music therapy can help dramatically reduce vocal stereotypy (repetitive singing, snorting, and slurring) in children with autism.