learning to play the piano is an art form.
It's an art form that can (and should) be enjoyed for its beauty and creative involvement; in addition to its artistic benefits, there are many studies that show the benefits of lessons reach far beyond the bench.
1. In both verbal and math scores, high school student-musicians outpace peers. In 2001, SAT takers with coursework/experience in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 41 points higher on the math portion than students with no coursework/experience in the arts. Reference: Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, compiled by Music Educators National Conference, 2001.
2. Regardless of socioeconomic background, music-making students get higher marks in standardized tests. The UCLA study of over 25,000 students over 10 years showed that students involved in music tested higher than those with no music involvement. The study also noted that the musicians scored higher, no matter what socioeconomic group was being studied. Reference: Dr. James Catterall, UCLA, 1997.
3. Researchers find arts training not only raises scholastic performance, but also improves student behavior and attitude. In Rhode Island, researchers studied eight public school first grades. Half of the classes became "test arts" groups, receiving ongoing music and visual arts training. In kindergarten, this group had lagged behind in scholastic performance. After seven months, the students were given a standardized test. The "test arts" group had caught up to their students in reading and surpassed their classmates in math by 22%. Students were also evaluated on attitude and behavior, and there was noted improvement in these areas as well. Reference: Nature May 23, 1996
4. Researchers find music is a superior way to teach elementary students the concept of fractions. Second-grade and third-grade students were taught fractions by teaching them basic rhythmic notation. Their peers received traditional fraction instruction. When tested, those students exposed to the music-based lessons scored a full 100% higher on fractions tests than those who learned in the conventional manner. Reference: Neurological Research, March 15, 1999
5. Music majors are better readers, and more successful med school applicants. A study of 7,500 university students revealed that music majors scored the highest reading scores among all majors including English, biology, chemistry, and math. It was also found that 66% of music majors who applied to medical school were admitted, the highest percentage in any group. 44% of biochemistry majors were admitted. References: "The Comparative Academic Ability of Students in Education and in Other Areas of a Multi-focus University", "The Case for Music in teh Schools".