The guitar is one of the most musically diverse and expressive instruments in the world. The world's most respected and infamous players span the genres, from classical music to blues and garage rock.
No matter what band we idolized as teenagers, it had a cool, talented guitarist.
Learning to play the guitar is about so much more than trying to emulate our idols. There are countless benefits of learning guitar that can turn anyone into a better person.
Can learning to play guitar have that profound an effect on us?
People say that guitar players’ brains work a little differently to everyone else. Some see this as a sly nod to the oddball genius of some of the masters. On the other hand, there is some physiological evidence here. The art of learning to play the chords and read sheet music opens up new neural pathways. Essentially, a Guitarist does rewire their brain in a positive way which leads to all kinds of cognitive benefits.
The benefits of playing guitar can be categorized into five distinct areas:\
- Social Development
- Personal Development
- Professional Development
- Mental health benefits
- Physical health benefits
This guide to the advantages of learning to play guitar will look at the key positive points in all five of these categories. Some will be obvious. Others could be very surprising. We begin with social development.
The guitar is an instrument that brings people together as a group and connects them through music. Guitarists can enjoy the following benefits
1) Play guitar in a room full of people to raise the mood.
Few instruments equal a guitar when it comes to uniting people. Pianos can offer a similar vibe in the right setting, but guitars have a sense of spontaneity to them.
Bring one out at a party, and you can become the center of attention. It starts with a few absent-minded chords to add some ambiance. From there, you can be bombarded with requests for songs and end up with a big group sing-along.
There is a catch, though. You do need to be able to play the songs!
The odd fumbled note can be endearing, but you need to be pretty competent to win people over. That is why it is important to learn to play, not to mess around on the guitar.
2) Play guitar to bring new people into your world.
The shy, unassuming guy in the corner at a party could be a budding songwriter or a talented drummer. Your spontaneous playing may encourage him to strike up the courage to talk to you. Then there are the members of the opposite sex. Guys have a thing for girls that can play an instrument and vice-versa.
Also, it never escapes the attention of band members that it is often the guitarist that gets the girls. Bass guitar just isn't sexy. Just the image of a guy with a guitar in his hands can change a woman's first impressions. However, it does help if you can back it up with the talent.
There are more reasons to pick up a guitar than to score with girls. The right lessons and passion can take you to a new level. You can go from a tentative player strumming out some classics in your bedroom to a true musician creating your own riffs.
However, it goes much further than that. You will become a better, more well-rounded person by learning to play the guitar. Here are some of the key advantages for personal development.
1) Play guitar to improve your concentration and memory.
Improved drive and discipline will help you focus on this new skill and improve concentration. This hobby also helps players improve their memory. A study at the University of Zurich concluded that the areas of the brain responsible for memory were stimulated while playing. This relates to both cognitive and muscle memory. Children with ADHD are sometimes advised to pick up an instrument to help them focus their energy into something creative and positive.
2) Play guitar to improve your coordination and ability to handle multiple tasks.
There is a lot to think about when playing this instrument. Players need a good sense of multitasking here. You need to be able to:
- Read the music
- Create the right chord shape with your hand
- Play the note
- Read ahead
- Listen to the sound made
- Continue with the song
It sounds quite complicated when it is put this way. Add singing into the mix, and you have a whole another element to contend with. This is another case in point of how the brain rewires itself for the better.
3) Play guitar to achieve new goals that are about more than financial gains.
Every chord mastered and song perfected is an achievement. The feeling gained from doing so cannot be ignored. These achievements also teach us that there is more to adult life than financial rewards. A hobby can give us a sense of accomplishment that may have been lost. These achievements will then lead to a greater sense of confidence in your abilities.
These benefits of playing guitar for personal development can have a knock-on effect on our professional lives. This new attitude may lead to a can-do attitude on a challenging project at work. If you mastered a difficult section of a favorite song over a weekend, those spreadsheets should be a piece of cake. The following advantages can also be gained from guitar lessons.
1) Play guitar to work on your time management skills.
The act of learning to play guitar is also helpful for teaching people how to settle to a schedule. Just 20 minutes of practice a day can lead to some significant results. If you want to learn with enough passion, then 20 minutes is nothing.
Eventually, you can apply this to other aspects of personal life and work to help with time management and personal discipline.
20 minutes of exercise a day?
This is no problem if this is followed by a relaxing guitar session later that evening.
2) Play guitar to improve your math and English skills.
The idea of developing math skills sounds ridiculous at first. Surely maths and music are on completely different ends of the spectrum and sides of the brain?
In fact, music theory is built on math with the different scales and chords. As for English skills, children that learn music theory at a young age have been shown to develop a greater reading comprehension than their peers.
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that music theory in adult life will help with vocabulary. That is unless the lyrics sheets are particularly high-brow.
Mental Health & Emotional Benefits
There are great cognitive benefits here for improving focus, intelligence, and motor skills. This only scratches the surface of the advantages that guitar playing can provide. Beyond the cognitive changes, there are the following mental health benefits.
1) Play guitar for some easy stress relief.
The act of guitar playing can be deeply therapeutic. A study from the Mind-Body Wellness Center and Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems found that playing an instrument has a big impact on stress levels.
It is a great form of relief for anybody struggling to release the tension of a long day in the office. Many first time players are 40-something adults needing a release. Some people like to play a few rounds of golf, and others want to learn to unleash their inner rockstar.
2) Play guitar for an escape from anxiety.
The guitar demands your full attention. It insists that you switch off from the outside world completely. It provides an escape for those 20-minute sessions.
This means that guitar lessons could be a great option for people struggling with depression and anxiety disorders.
This is made better by the fact that it does give something back. That sense of accomplishment from achieving those difficult lessons leads to great happiness and self-worth.
3) Play guitar to improve creativity.
More and more of us are being encouraged to bring more creativity and a work-life-balance into our lives. For many, this means drawing painting or the ongoing craze of adult coloring-in books. Others like to bake. Then there are those that have no place setting foot near a mixing bowl or an easel. Music is a creative outlet that brings just as much joy through the same amount of passion.
4) Play guitar to be reminded of a happier time.
We get a great feeling from putting on a record of a favorite band from our teenage years. Learning to play those Nirvana or Smiths classics just takes that to a new level with even greater rewards.
There is a deep emotional connection with music. Music can make us cry which greater ease than a sad movie. It is easy to stir up memories of lost love and lost youth. At the same time, music can also create a sense of euphoria. Finding a song that relates to happier times, with uplifting lyrics, can instantly elevate the mood of a room.
5) Play guitar to bring hope and empowerment to others.
These positive emotions are amplified when we play songs to provide those feelings for other people. This has to be the ultimate benefit of learning guitar: to make others feel something wonderful. That goal drives everyone from the busker on the street corner to the global star trying to entertain an arena of thousands.
Physical Health Benefits
Playing guitar can be good for physical health, although those initial calluses and sore fingers might suggest otherwise. Not all players will experience the following benefits. However, they are highly important.
1) Play guitar to strengthen your hands and wrists.
With time, your hands and wrists will become stronger and more flexible. This comes from all those chord positions and strumming. It is a constant process that builds up the muscles and stretches the tendons. This can also carry through into arm muscles and shoulders.
2) Play guitar to lose weight.
There are also those that point out the benefits of learning to play guitar for calorie burning. It does help to be up performing on a stage in a hot, sweaty venue. You won't lose much by learning a song on your couch.
3) Play guitar to lower your blood pressure.
Harvard Health ran a study on the effects of music on blood pressure and anxiety on patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Listening to and playing relaxing music can really help. Playing guitar in these times of anxiety can take you out of the moment to better place in life and a better memory.
4) Play guitar to relief pain.
Research from the University of Utah’s Pain Research Center shows that the act of playing music can be so absorbing that people actually use it as a painkiller. This means that it can be a great tool for people dealing with chronic stress and pain.
The art of guitar playing and the passion to play never goes away.
There is one final benefit to end on because it relates to all the other topics mentioned above. The simple answer to the greatest benefit of playing guitar is that it can last forever.
As long as you play guitar, you can entertain friends and family members with songs until your fingers no longer allow you play. When that moment comes, you can simply teach everything you know to your grandchildren.
That rewired guitarist’s brain will set you up for a long life of cognitive health. You just have to remember to keep up with your playing. The same goes for the effects on stress-relief and relaxation.
Guitar playing is so much more than a hobby for those with the passion to learn and better themselves. It becomes a part of who you are and a vital link in some of the best relationships you will have.
You’ve just read our top benefits of learning guitar. Now it’s time to hear from you. What do you think of these benefits of learning guitar? Do you feel inspired to take guitar lessons?
Either way, let us know by leaving a quick comment below right now.
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About Liberty Park Music
LPM is an online music school. We teach a variety of instruments and styles, including classical and jazz guitar, piano, drums, and music theory. We offer high-quality music lessons designed by accredited teachers from around the world. Our growing database of over 350 lessons come with many features—self-assessments, live chats, quizzes etc. Learn music with LPM, anytime, anywhere!