Mind your Ps & Qs: Piano and Quarantine

A close-up of a girl's hands as she plays piano

If you were left struggling during quarantine, you’re not alone. 

The CDC reported a significant growth in the number of people who reported feelings of anxiety and depression between April and June of 2020, compared to the same time period in 2019. Younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers were more at-risk for mental health concerns, as many people in these groups reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation during the thick of quarantine. 

But what if we told you music could help you manage your stress and even boost your mood? It’s absolutely possible. Music is a great way for the artist to express themself, but also a great way to express and channel your own moods and emotions, including stress. Here’s a few ways you can use music as a stress management tool:

What’s on your playlist? 

Is your playlist filled with slow, sad songs? If so, you might find yourself feeling down and thinking about sad situations. 

If you’re wanting to use music to relax, make sure your playlist includes songs that have a slow tempo. This will quiet your mind and relax your muscles, which will help release stress from your day. If you spend significant amount of time in a relaxed position while listening to calming songs, you may even induce sleep! 

Do you play an instrument? Use it for stress relief!

It’s true— the U.S. National Library of Medicine claims that playing the keyboard lowers cortisol levels and decrease a person’s anxiety. The study they included found that people who play piano benefitted from greater stress reduction than those who chose to read magazines or work on puzzles. Why? Not only were these participants focused on something else, but an instrument also provides an aesthetic appeal that verbal communication nor challenging puzzles can provide. Playing the piano can allow those struggling with depression see themselves in a different light, which is an important step in treating clinical depression. 

Find that sense of accomplishment

Maybe you don’t know how to play any instruments— that’s okay! You can still find a musical outlet by playing an instrument. Scott “The Piano Guy” Houston, PBS show host of The Piano Guy and now founder of Piano in a Flash, said that finding that sense of accomplishment can turn your week around. 

“The number of adult students I see finding success with my online piano lesson program is astronomical… I’ve had thousands of people come to our website during the height of Coronavirus looking for something not just to fill their time at home, but to challenge them. After learning to play a song they love or figuring out a new musical skill, they find that sense of pride and accomplishment they didn’t know they were craving. It’s such a mood booster, and drives these students to keep coming back to learn more.”

If you want to learn more about Scott Houston’s online piano method, you can visit his website at www.pianoinaflash.com

So… how are you going to start incorporating music into your self-care routine?

Hannah Derleth is the Marketing Coordinator at Piano in a Flash.