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Study says playing piano may help deal with mental health issues and overcome depression

According to a recent study, studying a musical instrument like the piano may aid individuals in overcoming mental health issues like depression and anxiety. A randomized control trial involving 31 people was conducted at the University of Bath.

They were split into three groups: control, music instruction and music listening.

According to a PTI report, those without any prior musical training or experience were instructed to finish weekly one-hour lessons. While the intervention groups were participating in musical activity, the control group either listened to music or used the time to complete schoolwork.

Dr Karin Petrini of the University of Bath, one of the authors, said, ‘We know that playing and listening to music often brings joy to our lives, but with this study we were interested in learning more about the direct effects a short period of music learning can have on our cognitive abilities.’

Each music training session had two portions. Finger exercises took up the first 20 minutes of the programme.

For the second part, students spent 40 minutes studying songs from the ABRSM piano grade one test list for the 2017–2018 academic year. Each training session was conducted in a one-on-one setting.

These compositions were taught to participants in the following order: William Gillock A Stately Sarabande, Classic Piano Repertoire (Elementary), Johann Christian Bach Aria in F, BWV Anh. II 131, Giuseppe Verdi La donna è mobile (from Rigoletto), Bryan Kelly Gypsy Song: No. 6 from A Baker’s Dozen and, finally the traditional American folk song, ‘When the saints go marching in’, said the PTI report.

They switched to the next song once they were able to play the previous one accurately and smoothly.

According to Petrini, the study’s findings show that even in adults, when brain plasticity is reduced, this has a significant, positive impact on how the brain receives audio-visual information.

As a result, the authors make the assumption that persons who are having mental health problems would benefit from learning music. However, more study is required to substantiate this.


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