Walter PianoThriving Adults

But how about you? Are you among the 82% of adults who have always wanted to learn how to play an instrument?[3] Did you know that adults can gain as much as younger people from playing the piano?

Even if you've already achieved career success and significant wealth, there can be so much more to a prosperous life. Consider what happens when Nancy, a baby boomer and successful business owner, decides to join a recreational group piano class for adults:

  • She immediately feels relief from stress. After hours of intense daily pressure at work, Nancy finds it easy to unwind at the piano. The class moves at a comfortable pace and no one is ever required to play solo—which means zero stress. In her personal practice and in class, Nancy can just relax and have fun.
  • She's making new friends. Because recreational piano classes are taught in groups, Nancy enjoys getting to know others who share a common interest. Many of her classmates are professional people like her who, after raising a family, are finally getting to try the things they've always wanted to do. The warm camaraderie among class members is a wonderful surprise.
  • She enjoys playing her favorite songs. Nancy always dreamed of learning her two favorite Beatles tunes. Now, she's thrilled to play these and many other classic hits for friends and family.
  • Her mind and spirit are enlivened. The process of learning something completely new has been intellectually and emotionally stimulating for Nancy. She enjoys a sense of adventure when exploring new musical concepts and genres with her classmates. Playing the piano has made her feel more fully alive.

Studies have shown that recreational group music-making can significantly improve the quality of life and personal well-being among those who embrace it. So even when you're playing the piano just for fun, practice makes prosperous in meaningful ways that far exceed the balance in your 401(k).

To give the piano a whirl, contact a local music store or independent piano teacher to find out about recreational piano classes in your area. Whether you're young or old, striving for success or just playing for fun, the prodigious power of playing the piano can change your life.

Brian Chung is Senior Vice President of Kawai America Corporation and a leading proponent of the benefits of making music. He is also a pianist, and co-author (with Dennis Thurmond) of Improvisation at the Piano: A Systematic Approach for the Classically Trained Pianist (Alfred Publishing, 2007). Visit his website at

  1. Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers. The College Board, compiled by Music Educators National Conference, 2001.
  2. Peter H. Wood, "The Comparative Academic Abilities of Students in Education and in Other Areas of a Multi-focus University," ERIC Document ED327480 (1990).
  3. U.S. Gallup Poll. 2008 Music USA NAMM Global Report (August, 2008): 139.