I’ve always known that I’m “different,” and I recently read an article that might explain why.
I’m a pianist. And I’ve been one since I was old enough to pull myself up onto the creaky chair at the piano in my parents’ living room in Yerevan, Armenia.
What makes us pianists different from other people, and, specifically, from other musicians? Our brains work in a unique way, thanks to the demands that learning to play the piano place on our cognitive processes.
I’m not a scientist, though I do love science. So, I will summarize the findings stated in the article in my own, musician-brained, way.
The piano requires that both hands play simultaneously while navigating 88 keys (more keys on certain pianos, but I digress). We play multiple notes at once, while managing rhythms, harmonies, and melodies, all at the same time.
Kind of a tall order, no?
Yes. Yes, it is.
And one that demands and develops a unique brain capacity. One that transcends the natural right- or left-handedness inherent to almost everyone. One that requires extremely efficient connections between the different parts of the frontal lobe, the area of the brain responsible for integrating information to make decisions, solve problems, process language, regulate spontaneity, and oversee social behavior. One that allows zooming through slower, methodical thinking. One that conserves energy by allocating resources in a highly effective manner.
Yup, we’re different.
So, when you encounter someone who comes to a conclusion, solves a problem, or sees through a situation more quickly than other people, chances are, you’re dealing with a pianist.
You may still find us annoying, but now you know why we are the way we are.