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Piano training in youths with hand motor impairments after damage to the developing brain

Authors Lampe R, Thiennel A, Mitternacht J, Blumenstein T, Turova V, Alves-Pinto A

Received 6 March 2015

Accepted for publication 1 May 2015

Published 3 August 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 1929—1938


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Renée Lampe,1,* Anna Thienel,2 Jürgen Mitternacht,1 Tobias Blumenstein,1 Varvara Turova,1 Ana Alves-Pinto1,*

1Research Unit for Paediatric Neuroorthopaedics and Cerebral Palsy, Orthopaedics Department, Klinikum Rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, 2Department Sonderpädagogik, Ludwig Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Damage to the developing brain may lead to impairment of the hand motor function and negatively impact on patients’ quality of life. Development of manual dexterity and finger and hand motor function may be promoted by learning to play the piano. The latter brings together music with the intensive training of hand coordination and fine finger mobility. We investigated if learning to play the piano helped to improve hand motor skills in 18 youths with hand motor disorders resulting from damage during early brain development. Participants trained 35–40 minutes twice a week for 18 months with a professional piano teacher. With the use of a Musical Instrument Digital Interface piano, the uniformity of finger strokes could be objectively assessed from the timing of keystrokes. The analysis showed a significant improvement in the uniformity of keystrokes during the training. Furthermore, the youths showed strong motivation and engagement during the study. This is nevertheless an open study, and further studies remain needed to exclude effects of growth and concomitant therapies on the improvements observed and clarify which patients will more likely benefit from learning to play the piano.

manual skill, cerebral palsy, neurodevelopmental disorder, music, rehabilitation

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