Thoughts

6 Benefits of Playing an Instrument — No Matter What You Do for a Living

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Do you consider yourself a musical sort?

However disappointed your parents might have been that you weren’t a child prodigy, there’s plenty of gradient on the aptitude scale. Even modest musical talents may become committed hobbyists — and, in the age of auto-tuning and studio-quality production-in-a-box, well-compensated careerists, too.

Perhaps you’re neither. You just like to pick up your guitar or violin or clarinet, or sit down at the keyboard, and belt out a few notes from time to time. Is is worth your time to keep it up?

In a word, yes. These are six of the most compelling reasons to play an instrument in your spare time, even if your day job has nothing to do with music. 

  1. It May Reduce Stress

Clinical research suggests that musicians enjoy a host of positive health benefits, including lower blood pressure and better mood — key signifiers of stress. Your weekly practice sessions could well prove to be as important to your health as your daily exercise regimen.

  1. It Exercises Your Spiritual Muscles

Music is good for the soul; playing an instrument provides spiritual nourishment that’s hard to find elsewhere in this day and age. Play long enough and you may just find yourself with a fresh outlook on life.

  1. It’s Good for Your Breathing

Singing and playing wind instruments may be good for your breathing, at least according to this music blog. It’s not hard to see why; whether you know it or not, you’re taking half breaths every day. When you play, you’re more inclined to breathe deeply and regularly.

  1. It May Help Your Hearing 

Anyone who’s been to a loud rock concert knows that music isn’t by default good for your hearing. Indeed, repeated, prolonged exposure is a leading cause of irreversible hearing damage.

However, your in-home music studio or practice room probably isn’t anywhere near as loud as a raging concert hall. Playing an instrument quietly, for your own enjoyment, is actually a great way to improve your hearing — if not its sensitivity, then at least its sophistication. Learning to distinguish half-notes and tone variations may help you tell more sounds apart and increase the richness with which you experience the natural world.

  1. It Could Improve Your Social Skills and Engagement

Everyone loves a committed soloist, and — to be clear — the benefits of playing an instrument in any capacity far outweigh the drawbacks. But playing music is a great way to socialize, too. If you can get a band together (or the band back together, so to speak), you may make a few lifelong friends in the process.

  1. It’s Great for Your Posture

No matter what instrument you play, it’s a far cry from hunching over your computer for hours on end. If reminding yourself to sit up straight doesn’t cut it, perhaps taking up guitar or clarinet will.

Pick Up Your Instrument Today

If you’re not yet convinced that playing an instrument is a great use of your time, perhaps nothing will get you over the hump. It’s crystal-clear that musical hobbyists — and others who cherish creative pursuits in their spare time — are more resilient, more fulfilled, and more productive than those without meaningful hobbies. 

There’s no point waiting any longer. Indeed, the only question left to ask is: what’s your instrument?

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