Many people wish they could play a musical instrument, but just never seem to get around to it. Some of you may even think you’re too old to start learning. Of all the instruments out there, the guitar has got to be one of the most accessible. It’s also relatively easy to get started with. It might take a little bit of effort, but there are lots of benefits to be had. Here are just 5 reasons you should pick up a guitar today.
1. Relieves stress
We all know that stress is bad for you. We also all have more than our fair share of it in our day to day lives. There’s a lot of evidence out there to show that playing a musical instrument is good for you. In fact, making music can actually lower your blood pressure and decrease your heart rate.
When you’re learning a guitar (or any instrument for that matter), all of your focus is on what you’re doing at that particular moment in time. It’s like a form of mindfulness. You’re no longer thinking about your day to day problems, you are, quite literally, concentrating on the task in hand. There’s nothing better to do after a bad day at work than pick up your guitar and play your troubles away!
2. Develops co-ordination
A key part of playing the guitar is hand eye co-ordination. Strumming with one hand whilst fretting notes with the other all helps to develop good motor skills and muscle memory. This can also benefit you in other areas of life where good co-ordination is required. It can be particularly useful for the very young.
Children, for example, can really reap the rewards of playing guitar as it can help speed up their overall development and give them skills that they can use throughout their life. That isn’t to say that you won’t enjoy these benefits if you are older. Age is irrelevant when it comes to playing the guitar. You’re never too old to learn.
3. Improves your memory
Playing a guitar can benefit your brain immensely and your memory function could be increased quite significantly. When you learn new scales, chords and songs, your grey matter gets a really good workout. The more you absorb new information into your brain, the easier you’ll find it to retain that information. Just like the motor skills we mentioned earlier, this benefit is not limited to playing your instrument. Musicians can find it easier to pick up new skills in other areas, learning a new language for example. On top of all this, playing guitar can even help improve your IQ!
4. Gives you a creative outlet
It’s great to be able to express your emotions and show your creativity through guitar playing. Music is as much about emotion as it is about technical ability (more so in some respects). Having a creative outlet to get lost in can really help improve your overall quality of life. If you have somewhere positive to channel your feelings, it can really help lower your stress levels (see reason 1).
Being artistic can also help when it comes to ‘thinking outside of the box.’ People come up with all sorts of interesting ideas and solutions to problems when they’re concentrating on something creative, such as playing an instrument. If you’re struggling to overcome an issue, go play your guitar for a bit. You might just have a Eureka moment!
5. It’s fun!
This is probably the most important reason to pick up a guitar. It’s really enjoyable to play music, no matter what the genre. The sense of accomplishment you get from being able to recreate one of your favorite songs is immense. Jamming with other musicians is also great fun, whatever your ability. When you listen to music, your brain actually releases a chemical that makes you happy (dopamine). Imagine how happy creating your own music can make you. Science aside, the guitar is probably one of the most fun instruments you can play (apart from the Ukulele maybe!). After all, who doesn’t love a good old sing along?
Why Haven’t YOU Picked Up a Guitar Yet?
Have you always wanted to play guitar, but have been putting it off for one reason or another? If so, tell me about it in the comments section below. Maybe I (or other readers) can help address some of your concerns (lack of money, time, etc).
Certain scientific and medical claims were made in this article, so I think it prudent to provide a few sources to back up those claims:
- More Music Lessons – to Improve Memory, Intelligence, and Behavior
- The Arts and Creative Problem Solving
- Playing a Musical Instrument Makes You Brainer
- How Making Music Reduces Stress