WHY STUDY PIANO?
Music in General: Studying music in general contributes to many important cognitive and mental abilities: First, it develops understanding of important temporal and spatial relationships. Second, it teaches the importance of doing something perfectly (performance). Third, it develops strong coordination and improved fine motor skills. Fourth, it teaches the importance of personal expression in a creative process, within the limitations of an acceptable mode or style. Fifth, it teaches the student how to work on a very long term project in very small steps. Sixth, it teaches true teamwork in ways that sports never can. As much as studying any single instrument contributes to these above factors, the study of piano does so much more deeply and intensely.
A music education is the single most significant indicator tracked in students who score highly on the SAT examinations in both verbal and math.
Why Piano First? For any student wishing to study another musical instrument, beginning with piano first makes the process much easier: 1) the student may begin at a younger age; 2) Musical concepts are easier to understand on the piano; 3) The student benefits from more immediate success and gratification; 4) Learning how to read music on the piano makes learning an instrument easier.
Universal Instrument: The piano provides the most flexibility for musical exploration and enjoyment because every other kind of music is often arranged for piano solo. All accompaniments for solo instruments and voice are written for piano (even if originally meant for orchestra or band). Almost all the most popular songs, movie themes and other music are arranged for piano at various levels (Easy Piano to Advanced). The piano is capable of complex music that has chords, melody and even multiple melodies playing at the same time. The piano is capable of almost the full range of audible sound and has the widest range of any instrument. Piano music requires reading both Treble and Bass Clefs. If you can play piano, and you play any kind of music.
Intervals & Keys: Instrumental players and singers must develop a sense for the musical intervals and tonality (keys). Knowing the musical "distance" between two notes is required to play them in tune. Since the musical notation does not directly indicate these important concepts (because the distance between the notes is not equal, e.g. E-F and B-C are half steps, but between all other consecutive letters are whole steps), learning the piano helps to develop and establish this crucial understanding. The keysboard has a layout and the keys are shaped in such a way that directly represents the musical sounds (and their distance relationships), so a music student who studies piano for at least two years will benefit greatly by a keener understanding of intervals and keys.
Chords & Harmony: Instrument musicians and singers are for the most part limited to playing a single melody line. String players have the capability to play diads (harmonic intervals) and broken chords, and for this reason often develop a stronger since of harmony than players of other single line instruments. However, all musicians must develop an understanding of harmony in order to "tune" with other instruments (or the piano) and to "hear" (hence play) the correct notes within their melodies. On the piano, the music student learns and understands harmony directly and thoroughly.
All music schools require ALL their students to study piano to meet a minmum proficiency, because all musicians benefit from this basic skill and knowledge.