~~~ Piano is the king of the musical instrument and the most
~~~ Piano is the king of the musical instrument and the most versatile ~~~
Research shows that piano lessons help rewire neural circuits, developing parts of the sensory cortex which is directly linked to the physical skills. These connections last a lifetime and affect other skills we learn as well.
Piano lessons improve hand-eye co-ordination, spatial reasoning, hearing acuteness, concentration and co-ordination. They also develop memory skills and improve confidence level, intelligence, self-discipline and countless other aspects of human growth and development. Piano playing develops the hand and finger muscles better than any other musical instruments (which is good training for aspiring candidates for professions like dentists and surgeons which require very well developed fine motor skills). Just recently in Nov 2018, Australian neuroscientist/brain cartographer Professor George Paxinos from Neuro Research Australia (NeuRA) discovered the part of the brain which is responsible for extremely fine motor control and named it Endorestiform Nucleus (EnR).
The pianist is constantly adjusting decisions on the musical structure (tonality, key, harmony, rhythm, tempo and style) and the expressive properties of music (timbre, loudness, articulation, dynamics, phrasing, expression and feeling), training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have a great pay off for lifelong attentional skills, intelligence and ability for self-knowledge and expression.
Because piano playing provides a full workout for the ENTIRE brain, the pianist's brain is different from everyone elses'. The pianist's brain conserves energy more efficiently by allocating resources more effectively than anyone else because of the mutation of his central sulcus and alteration of his frontal lobe's function. (Please check out this interesting scientific finding at link http://mic.com/articles/91329/science-shows-how-piano-players-brains-are-actually-different-from-everybody-elses).
The high level of manual dexterity involved is one reason why professional pianists (who play with emotion) have not been easily replaced by computers.
The piano is an essential tool for developing a deep understanding of music theory. Piano students are exposed to a wide variety of musical styles, learn to read music more fully and capably and will have an easier time grasping theory (much easier to visualize from the keyboard). Moreover intonation is not a problem with piano students.
The piano can really serve as a basic instrument for study on any other instrument and there is much more literature available. Once you have mastered the piano, you can easily play the keyboard and even the more fun and "sexy" keytar and enjoy your very own jamming sessions. It is interesting to note that many brilliant musicians like violinist Vanessa Mae learnt piano first as the starting instrument. Also many college and university music programs require a piano proficiency for all students working towards a degree in music (from composer, conductor, performer, teacher).
One quality that the piano and not many other instruments share is that you can play more than one note at a time. It is polyphonic. Thus, unlike instruments like the flute or violin, one can play pieces with complex and rich melodies and harmonies when playing alone. The vast repertoire of music (which requires no other instruments to be complete) makes the piano a dynamic solo instrument. At the same time, the piano sounds beautiful accompanying other instruments. So, the student will be able to participate in music as a soloist, ensemble player, accompanist or simply for personal enjoyment. Another point is that the student will be able to enjoy making music sooner because he/she can immediately produce a pleasant sound. Just try and do that with an oboe or a flute; you will need substantial study of embouchure (lip position) breathing, fingering and more just to get a sound!
The piano is also a staple of family sing-along - whether you are singing Christmas carols or playing some favourite movie tunes. The very design of the piano lends itself to groups of people gathered around, singing along. This is one of the most social of activities. This is where some of our warmest and most treasured memories are made.
As piano is one size fits all, you won't have to change instruments as your kids grow to accommodate his/her physical size.
All musical instruments (including voice) have a learning curve, so one should not be too concerned with which instrument is "easiest" to learn. Each has its easy and difficult points.