Playing the piano may improve the anatomical development and Neuroplasticity of a child.
See the study by Bengtsson, et al., called Extensive piano practicing has regionally specific effects on white matter development.
… we investigated effects of piano practicing in childhood, adolescence and adulthood on white matter, and found positive correlations between practicing and fiber tract organization in different regions for each age period. For childhood, practicing correlations were extensive and included the pyramidal tract, which was more structured in pianists than in non-musicians. Long-term training within critical developmental periods may thus induce regionally specific plasticity in myelinating tracts.
A key finding here is that the largest number of brain regions correlated with childhood practicing, although the total number of hours practiced in childhood was considerably lower than in later life.
Training kids in music can have profoundly positive impacts on their neurological development. This is not just important for their abilities in music itself, but in a broad range of areas usually not associated with the arts, like mathematics and science.
If you didn’t get this kind of training as a kid, don’t fret. As is often true, learning things as a kid makes things easier. But adults can overcome this with more intense hard work. The adult brain is amazingly plastic, just as their physical body is. However… you have to train your ass off to see huge results.
Bottom line: train hard in a wide range of areas.
Personally, I’d specifically focus on complex arts like music and/or drawing, mathematics and other hard sciences, and the training of physical skills and strength.
Music, Math, Muscle.
Now go lift something heavy,