BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana’s music scene has been thriving for years. Names like Fats Domino, Louis Armstrong, Harry Connick Jr., and Tim McGraw are synonymous with innovative sounds that have garnered the interest of an international fanbase over the years.

As much as we enjoy listening to our favorite Louisiana-raised musicians, when it comes to picking up an instrument and trying our own hand at playing a tune, even just the idea can be intimidating.

That said, a number of experts say there are numerous benefits to giving music a shot.

What are some of the supposed benefits of learning to play an instrument?

Check out these three reasons below as you decide whether it’s worth your while to invest in music lessons:

Playing Music Can Be Therapeutic

According to MusicNotes, “Playing music can help with stress, insomnia, and depression because it acts as an outlet for difficult emotions. It can be a form of self-soothing in tough situations, and a healthy distraction from a stressful day.”

In this regard, other experts note that “Musical experiences induce the release of neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, serotonin). The same chemical in the brain is associated with the intense pleasure people get from more tangible rewards such as food or addictive drugs.”

Learning To Play An Instrument Can Contribute To Healthy Aging

Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D, expressed his belief in the power of music’s ability to help a person ward off certain aspects of cognitive decline during the aging process in a Psychology Today article, stating, “Learning instruments later in life contributes to healthy aging.”

Heshmat cited a related study to prove his theory, saying, “For example, adults over 60 who received piano training (six months) had higher scores in tests of episodic memory and attention compared with those who did not receive piano training.”

He then explained a possible reason why learning an instrument can help an aging adult.

Essentially, the skill it takes to learn a new instrument are to the brain what healthy exercise is to our muscles. Just as a balanced amount of exercise keeps muscles in working condition, learning new things can help the brain to stay young.

Heshmat said, adding, “Neural plasticity is a biological foundation of the learning brain. New connections are made in our brains when we learn a new skill. Neuroplasticity is what keeps us young.”

Playing Music Can Help Regulate Your Breathing

One expert says that 80 percent of people have a breathing dysfunction and have developed poor breathing techniques throughout their lives.

Some believe that playing an instrument can help in this regard.

MusicNotes says, “Most of the time our breathing is very shallow, but activities, like singing or playing a wind instrument, require deep breathing from the diaphragm. This strengthens your lungs and respiratory system. Playing the harmonica can even help with pulmonary disease!”

A number of researchers believe that learning to play an instrument is worth one’s while as it can contribute to both physical and mental well-being.

In addition to this, there’s always the prospect of becoming the next great Louisiana-based musician.