Sophia starts piano lessons again today. Her last was 17th of February 2020. I am glad that she still remembers her previous lessons and she picked up where she had left off.
Other recent studies demonstrate that children who are taught to read music and play the keyboard undergo significant changes in their brain and have an advanced capacity for what’s called “spatial sensorimotor mapping.” In other words, when kids learn even the fundamentals of playing piano, their brains develop differently from the brains of kids who don’t, so they can more fully understand their own bodies in relationship to the objects around them. We’ve seen similar results in studies on people who meditate. Mindfulness exercises produce literal changes in the brain’s connections, significantly affecting how well a person interacts with other people and adapts to difficult situations.
Obviously, this isn’t to say that all children should take piano lessons, or that everyone should meditate (although we wouldn’t discourage either activity!). The point is that the experience of taking the lessons, like the experience of participating in mindfulness practices (or playing the violin or even practicing karate), fundamentally and physically changes the plastic brain – especially while it’s developing in childhood and adolescence, but even throughout our lives.
Neuroplasticity has enormous ramifications for what we do as parents. If repeated experiences actually change the physical architecture of the brain, then it becomes paramount that we be intentional about the experiences we give our children. Think about the ways you interact with your kids. How do you communicate with them? How do you help them reflect on their actions and behaviors? What do you teach them about relationships – about respect, trust, and effort? What opportunities do you expose them to? What important people do you introduce into their lives? Everything they see, hear, feel, touch, or even smell impacts their brain and thus influences the way they view and interact with their world – including their family, neighbors, strangers, friends, classmates, and even themselves.Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. And Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. – No Drama Discipline
The best part is that she enjoys it, which is more than what I can say about my mindfulness practice. Yes, I meditate everyday, but still have not mastered the art. And worse, I am not even sure that it is working. For me, it is not much different than hoping that tomorrow is going to be a better day, and yet, I still hope that it does.
What are your kids up to these days?
Here’s the link to the video: