What Are the Benefits of Playing Guitar?
Published on 04 May 2022
What was your reason for getting into guitar?
For a lot of us, more than likely it was a certain player, song or riff that led us down the exciting road of guitar playing!
Obviously, the cool points are instantly gained as soon as you pick up your first guitar, but did you know there are a myriad of health benefits of playing guitar.
In this blog, we are going to take a look at some of these, and for anyone who doesn’t play already, this might encourage you to join all us other players who reap the health benefits of playing guitar as well as gaining the skills of playing an instrument.
Physical Health Benefits
Let’s start with some of the more obvious reasons, after all, it takes energy and movement to play the guitar!
- Strengthens your hands and wrists
Think back to when you started playing…sore fingers, sore wrists, aching joints (the main riff in Message In a Bottle I’m looking at you!). For those of us who fought through it all, we now have the strength and dexterity in our hands and wrists that can only be gained from playing a stringed instrument.
- Improves hand eye coordination
An incredibly important skill to develop when learning guitar, and one that transfers into so many aspects of life! Although it can take time and practice, guitar is a fantastic medium to see your progression in real time. Ask any guitarist, there will be a few chords or techniques that were a real roadblock when we started, but after some practise it has become second nature.
- Reduces Blood Pressure
Wild right?! This one is totally true though. A study by scientists in the Netherlands “suggest[s] that active music making has training effects resembling those of physical exercise training.” We know we’d rather spend an hour shredding on a guitar rather than training at the gym!
Mental Health Benefits
This list of health benefits of playing guitar are maybe not so obvious, as they aren’t on the surface, but arguably are the most important when playing guitar.
- Reduces stress
“One good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain.” –Bob Marley
Perfectly put. Music can help us all in some tough times, so what better way to enhance that than playing it yourself. We certainly can relate, sometimes you find yourself zoning out and playing guitar for hours only to be left in a fantastic mood after.
- Boosts Your Creativity
Learning to play guitar makes great use of your creativity through improvising and going with the flow, making up your own rhythms, shapes and licks as you go. Dreaming up your own melodies can be incredibly rewarding; you might even surprise yourself with the spontaneous riff you create!
Playing guitar opens endless opportunities for creative ideas so it’s important to make some time every day to play your guitar, it doesn’t have to be for long, even learning a new chord or riff once a day can make a huge difference in the long run. You’d be surprised how quickly this helps you improve.
Kendra Cherry, author of 17 Ways to Increase Creativity explains boosting creativity like this: “The first step to increasing creativity is to devote yourself to developing your creative abilities. Do not put off your efforts. Set goals, enlist the help of others, and put aside time each day to develop your skills.”
- Brain training
Seems like a no brainer…sorry. In all seriousness though, learning the guitar or any instrument benefits your brain and learning skills incredibly! A study by Christopher Bergland showed that executive functions (EF), which are the “high-level cognitive functions processes that enable people to quickly process and retain information, regulate their behaviours…solve problems, plan” etc. are enchanced for anyone who plays an instrument.
- Boosts confidence
Learning an instrument is a journey. Very very few people can be described as “naturals”, which means we all have to start at the beginning, and lucky for us, guitar is a fantastic medium to see and hear progress immediately. No doubt we have all experienced trying to learn something on guitar and finding it a real challenge, only to find after some consistent practice, the challenge is considerably easier and almost becomes second nature. Just think of how far we have come since we started! Talk about a dopamine hit.
- Self discipline
Even if you just play guitar as a hobby, there is no denying that it took some great self discipline to learn and practice even if you didn’t think that played a part. Anytime you pick up a guitar you are actively sharpening your craft and that was all YOUR decision. For anyone who has actively stepped up their playing too, this takes an incredible amount of dedication and patience. GO YOU!
- Meet New People
Playing guitar can be a fun way to expand your social circle since there are so many opportunities to meet new people when you’re playing an instrument. From jam sessions to gigs and open mics; attending events that you’re interested in can be a great way to meet like minded strummers, shredders, pickers or whatever your chosen style is!
Lawrence Robinson, Anne Artley, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. came together for Help Guide to write Making Good Friends, agreeing that a good way to meet new people is to “Take a class or join a club to meet people with common interests … can help you find local groups (or start your own) and connect with others who share similar interests.”
There’s nothing like a jam session to bring a group together and the fact you all have a shared passion for your instrument helps those connections grow into friendships, it’s also a great way to learn new techniques. Nothing shakes up your style like jamming with others and improvising.
- Making bonds and connections with other people
If there’s one thing guitarists love doing, more than playing, it’s talking about all aspects of guitar. I’m sure anyone who has visited a guitarguitar store can confirm this, as we all can chat for hours about guitars, pedals, amps and everything in between. There is something so fun about sharing your passion with people who also share a similar passion, and whether that be forming a band, or even just connecting with other guitar players online, you’ll not only make some new friends but also be able to take on and share knowledge from a ton of different players.
There are countless other health and mental benefits to playing a guitar, but these were just a few that we felt were important and have all experienced at one point or another. What other benefits do you find with guitar playing?