Matt Ryan was 13 years old when he got his first set of drums.

“It was a metallic green, rusty old abomination from a local pawn broker, but it was loud and I loved it.” Ryan explained

However, it had been a while since Ryan had touched his drums, which were now gathering dust in his bedroom.

After watching the documentary on ABC with Guy Sebastian called Don’t Stop The Music, Ryan realised the true impact that music has had on his life.

Speaking to ABC Life, Ryan said: “More than just a creative outlet, music taught me discipline. It was the first time in my life that I had really taken notice of growth as a result of commitment, and the first real skill that I felt I owned.

“However, the months between getting that first kit and actually being able to play it were some of the most testing of my young life.”

Learning an instrument as a child can be difficult but rewarding. There’s a proven link between learning music and increased ‘cognitive capability’. This means that people who learn to play an instrument can see overall improvement to their listening, reading and writing skills.

Ryan also noticed an increase in confidence once he mastered the drums.

“Things like the confidence that came with performing in front of, and with, others; the management of emotion; and the decision-making and problem-solving involved with improvising within the set structures of a song.

“I saw these traits spill out into other areas of my life and manifest in both social and formal situations.”

However, Ryan remembers fondly on some advice that was given to him by his original drum teacher during his very first lessons.

“Music isn't like sports or modelling. It's not something that if you don't reach your goals by 25, you're finished. Your playing will only get better as you grow older and wiser. Your best music days are ahead of you.”

Ryan is hoping to find out whether or not that’s true.

Do you have an instrument you still play?

This article originally appeared on Over60.

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