The Benefits of Playing Guitar

thinking about learning to play guitar? This is your sign to do it!

When I was younger and I saw Hannah Montana on TV jamming out on her guitar letting out all her feelings while also having a fun time, I knew I had to see what it was all about. It turns out my assumptions about the therapeutic effects of playing guitar were correct. Getting the hang of learning the chords and different strumming patterns took awhile for me, but I think it was truly worth it. If you have that itch to get your hands on a guitar, I think you should go for it. Although there are many reasons playing guitar (as well as other instruments) is so beneficial, we will be going over the mental, physical, and social benefits of learning to play this awesome instrument.

You can’t be too young or too old to start learning how to play guitar so now is as good a time as any! Try taking guitar lessons at a local music store or even teach yourself through books and videos on the internet.

Mental Health

Guitar Can Improve Mindfulness, Patience, Low Anxiety, and Confidence

Guitar has also been proven to lower anxiety, help people learn patience, and teach people concentration. By learning an instrument, you are using repetition, discipline, and consistent practice.

The BBC even found that playing an instrument can raise your white blood cell count. If you do not know much about white blood cells, they are critical to effective immune system response and they can affect your sympathetic nervous system which regulates our stress response.

Not only does playing guitar lower anxiety, but it also promotes mindfulness. When you are playing an instrument, whether it is the guitar or something else, you are concentrating on that instrument and being mindful. When you are present in any situation, you are simultaneously blocking out all the negative energy that comes from worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.

Learning guitar can be frustrating when you are starting out, but by tackling one or two chords each time you practice you will see immense progress. Once you get comfortable with basic chords you can begin learning some of your favorite songs and playing will be able to be a very relaxing and fun experience for you. Through this many people find an immense sense of inner peace and calmness.

One of my favorite PC games is called “The Sims.” If you are similar to me, then you made your sim play guitar around the clock until they became a full-blown rockstar. When a sim is practicing guitar, their mood is boosted and the effects are very similar on real human beings. When you are learning a new skill people feel a great sense of accomplishment from completing their goals and milestones. This in turn goes into boosting self-confidence.

Playing guitar and even trying your hand at writing your own songs will help with your self-expression and confidence. When you unlock the creative parts of your mind to make music that is your own, you will feel a sense of freedom and gratification.

The guitar is such a versatile instrument which is one of the reasons it is so unique. There are so many different genres of music that can be played on the guitar and there around millions of different designs, color combinations, and types of guitars to choose from. Guitars are like snowflakes, each one is a bit different in its own way. There is definitely the perfect guitar for you out there waiting for you to buy it.

If you are concerned with not being able to afford an expensive guitar, there are so many affordable guitars on the market that sound just as beautiful. One of the greatest guitarists of our generation, Jack White, made a guitar out of a bottle, nails, a guitar string, and a piece of wood that sounds absolutely incredible when he plays it. It is all about the person behind the guitar and less about the guitar itself.

Getting a strap for your guitar can be very helpful if you want to move around while you play instead of staying stationary in a seat. Straps come in thousands of different designs so you can get one personalized just for you.

Physical Health

Playing Guitar Will Benefit Your Head, Heart, and Soul

Playing guitar might not be the first thing your trainer at the gym will recommend to you, however, playing guitar is actually a great cardio workout depending on the genre! When you are really getting into the song and moving around, you will be having fun while simultaneously burning some calories. An average person can burn up to 217 calories by playing the guitar standing up.

Playing guitar is also physically demanding on your hands. Over time, regularly playing the guitar will help you to improve the flexibility, dexterity, and strength of your hands and wrists. It has also been found that playing guitar can also improve your motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Playing the guitar can even help improve the health of your organs such as your brain and heart. When you learn to play an instrument, you increase your memory capacity. This is beneficial for young people learning to play an instrument because as your brain is developing you will have an easier time studying for exams and learning to play an instrument has even been found to improve reading schools. For older people with fully developed brains, learning an instrument will keep your mind sharp and help you to avoid the forgetfulness that inevitably comes with old age. Playing an instrument can even reduce the risk of developing diseases like dementia by up to 75%. Playing an instrument engages every major part of your central nervous system which is why it is said to keep your brain healthy.

Your heart will be happy that you decided to pick up the guitar as well since playing has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce heart rate. Who would have thought that your internal organs could be benefitted so immensely from simply playing an instrument?

If you are having trouble finding the motivation to get started, see if you can have a friend or family member learn to play as well so you can help teach each other and hold each other accountable. If you stick to practicing, sooner than you know you will be jamming out together.

Community

Fun With Friends and Family

Playing guitar is very beneficial if you’re looking for that sense of community. Even if you’re just a beginner, you will be able to find that common ground with other people who play instruments and have something unique to relate to. Even better than talking about playing instruments, is playing instruments together. A jam sesh is a sure-fire way to have a great time. Even if you are not as experienced as those you are playing with, you might learn a thing or two.

There are even different subgroups within the umbrella of musicians. Maybe you want to join a rock band, maybe you want to play guitar with a bunch of other guitarists, maybe you play the chords of a song for one of your singing friends. The options for the different experiences you can now have are endless.  

Scientists have discovered that bonding with others through music results in increased production of oxytocin, which is known as the love hormone. This means that when you are engaging in these musical interactions, that warm and fuzzy feeling within your body is triggered which has severe implications on how you feel and think.

Being a musician and connecting with other musicians is also a great way to network. Creating lifelong connections through music may lead to creating relationships that help with fulfillment in other areas of life as well. It is also a great way to do something fun with others in a safe and socially-distanced way. If the weather is nice you can even play outside to be extra precautious.  

If you are struggling with getting the hang of the guitar, the ukulele is a wonderful starter instrument to get your hands used to the mechanics. The ukulele is even a bit more portable so you can play virtually anywhere.

Learning how to play guitar will be beneficial to your mind, body, and spirit. You do not have to feel pressured to be “good” either. It is all about trying your best. Are you not the best singer but you want to sing as you are learning to play? Sing anyway! Music does not have to be pretty to be considered music. As long as you are having fun, and accomplishing something you have been wanting to do, that is all that truly matters. Happy playing!

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Sarah Parry

Sarah is an entrepreneur based in Pittsburgh, PA.
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