reasons to play an instrument

 Music is to the ears what food is to the belly. Without the songs and their singers, who would I be? I struggle to even find an image in my head of a life without the instruments that line the hallway leading me home. It is here, in these strings, where I found my own reasons to love and live in this world of sun and shadow. In this banjo, there is a mountaintop. In this guitar, there is a garden. I could have lived an entire life without ever knowing how an instrument would sound when it met my hands, but now I know, and music has given me more reasons to celebrate than a prairie spring's homecoming.

It's never too late to become a music-maker, so I've decided to comprise a list for any of you who are looking for a reason to pick up an instrument and play. Let me know your reasons in the comments!

Reasons to play an instrument:
  • It brings you happiness.
  • Music is a field guide for navigating through life's deepest trenches. You can play your way through a bad mood or an aching heart.
  • It is a healthy coping mechanism.
  • You rarely live with boredom when you have an instrument to play.
  • In the land of music-making, time is never wasted because you're always on your way somewhere.
  • Your instrument can be your built in best friend. The chords will be with you at your worst, they will listen to you, they will calm you down and lift your sights to the sky when you need it most.
  • You can bring your instrument to parties or gatherings and entertain friends.
  • Your 'Fear Of Missing Out' dies on the vine whenever you decide to make music. If I had to say no to an event due to illness or other reasons, I can always pick up my banjo or guitar and watch the feeling of guilt wash away.
  • You'll make new friends by attending open mics and shows. There is something special about meeting other music-makers. Even if you have nothing else in common, music can be your bond and many life-long friendships are born this way.
  • Music does not discriminate. Whoever you are, wherever you may be, there is an instrument just waiting to be played by you.
  • Music is both a science and an art. This means you're truly exercising your brain while making the world a better place for you to live in. Playing can improve your memory, your coordination, and your ability to solve problems.
  • It is easier than it looks. Yes, it requires patience and you'll end up with blisters, but when you learn your first chord, soon after, you'll learn your second chord, then you'll go onto your third, and suddenly you'll have a song to play. I often hear people say "you're so lucky to play an instrument, I wish I did, I just never had the time." or "I own a guitar but I'd need lessons." Stop it. Being able to play will not happen overnight, very few things in life worth having arrive within one stretch of sunrise, but life is far too short to keep yourself from something you may love.
  • Music gives you a reason to wake up in the morning. I have had sad days where I rise after a night of sleep and all I want to do is stay in bed. I keep my banjo near my bedside and every time I see it, I feel like a big sunbeam just kissed my face.
Happy music-making!



  1. Someday I really am going to pick up music again. I used to play piano, and though I do not have a desire to go back to it, I would love to grab a guitar. Someday my knees will crack and my back ache too much and I will have to stop dancing, but I hope to translate it to my fingers. These are all wonderful reasons and perhaps I really should bite the bullet soon. Give me a reason to be less sad when the music can no longer tell my legs what to do. :)

  2. Awwww, this post warmed my heart :) "It is a healthy coping mechanism." » it is! It's the only non-destructive way of externalize/escape one's own demons. You're creating something and no one can take that away from you. I've been learning to play the bass for a few months now, I had a few lessons and then I couldn't afford lessons anymore so I've been just trying to learn it by myself. My fingers and wrist hurt like fuck but it's worth it. Whenever I combine recently written lyrics with a pleasing bassline and then my friends add the sound of a Fender Strat, drums, tambourine and keyboards... it's like suddenly, everything makes sense. It's like a climax kinda moment. Entrancing. I just wish I could've started earlier when I was a kid... I feel like I'm too old to learn ahah. Thank you for such an inspiring, beautiful post.

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  4. Sheer Amy, as always. :)

    Don't wait until your knees crack; from experience I can tell you fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders will crack too. Dance those muscles now. Now, the only moment you have control over. The rest is speculation or history. Live and love in the now.

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