It’s not surprising that the guitar is one of the most popular musical instruments to learn to play; it lends itself to a variety of styles, such as rock, jazz, classical guitar and folk and it’s easier to learn than many other instruments. The guitar can be learned and played at just about any age, and most older people are capable of mastering the techniques and getting something out of the experience, even if they’ve never picked up a musical instrument before. Learning the guitar is popular with older people looking for a hobby, or something that’s fun and healthy to pass the time, and also encourages social interaction. And unlike that other popular instrument the piano, a guitar of course is portable and it also costs a lot less, making mastering the instrument and owning one a lot more realistic. It’s quite a sense of accomplishment too!
It’s Actually Healthy For You
Is learning guitar hard? How do I get good at guitar? Learning the guitar can be fun and exciting; many people have fond memories of trying to follow in the footsteps of their favorite rock group. However, there are also several benefits of playing guitar, even if you aren’t destined to become the latest rock star or folk singer. One of the most noticeable benefits of learning and playing the guitar is that it can improve memory, focus and concentration; in fact studies indicate that playing the guitar or another instrument can be beneficial for children diagnosed with ADHD. Other studies show that overall brain function can be improved by playing the guitar, and regular playing of the guitar can help to improve the memory too. And studies have even shown that one of the benefits of playing guitar is its ability to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Playing music also helps people to recover more quickly from a stroke too.
If you write and play your own music, or have always wanted to do that, playing the guitar can encourage creativity, and boost that particular area of our brain. Most of us are creative without even consciously realizing it, and mastering a musical instrument such as a guitar, can be that creative outlet you’ve been looking for. And if your focus is on playing other people’s songs, playing them yourself rather than simply just listening to them can give you a whole new appreciation for what it takes to write a piece of music. Being able to play a musical instrument can lead to a whole new understanding and appreciation of musical technique and structure. Playing the guitar has inspired many well known musicians to write their own tunes, and you may be inspired to do the same.
Playing Can be Relaxing
One of the other benefits of guitar playing that appeals to many musicians is its relaxing effect. In fact, playing any musical instrument can be an effective way to eliminate stress, although there is perhaps something especially relaxing and therapeutic about strumming a guitar. As well as your mental health and well being, playing a guitar regularly can have positive physical effects too, as regular practice can lead to a drop in blood pressure and a lower heart rate. Getting older comes with many unwanted side effects, and playing the guitar can help to slow down that mental decline that happens later in life. Many professional musicians find that regular playing helps them cope with the inevitable stress that comes with constant concerts or life on the road.
Perhaps one of the surprising benefits of guitar playing is its ability to lessen pain. If you suffer from arthritis, you may know that there is no real cure, although the regular low impact movements and the exercising of the joints of the wrists and hands that playing a guitar requires can help to alleviate some of that pain. Like any other form of exercise or therapy, it’s important to pace yourself and not overdo it, and you may find that you have to limit the amount of time you play for. There’s also no firm evidence that playing the guitar or any other instrument can cause arthritis in people, or make the symptoms worse.
An Easy Way to Exercise
It may not seem like a lot of exercise, simply holding a guitar and playing it, but by doing that, you’re actually getting more physical exercise than you might think. For anyone who can’t easily walk, swim or visit the gym, it can be an easy yet effective way to exercise. Studies even suggest that playing the guitar and singing can boost the body’s immune system, and ultimately help us to stay healthy. And the guitar also has the advantage of being lightweight, especially if you play an acoustic guitar (why are acoustic guitars harder to play?), and it can be played easily even in the smallest space, or without leaving your bedroom or living room.
Getting Social or Playing Professionally
Of course, the guitar has always been seen as a social instrument too, and although strumming away by yourself can be satisfying, playing the guitar with others who enjoy music is arguably even more fun. You and your friends may not become the next big act, but interacting with others who share your passion is a great way to get even more out of playing an instrument. Playing the guitar can become more than just a hobby; it can lead to new friendships and a fuller social life. If you get to the point where you are standing up playing in front of an audience, whether its in your local bar or in your living room, it can do wonders for your self confidence. If you play professionally, you’ll find you develop a whole range of other skills, such as public speaking, time management and working together with others. And of course, playing the guitar professionally can be a source of extra income.
As can be seen, there are many benefits of playing guitar, some of them not immediately obvious. Whether you’re a teenager saving up money for your first instrument, or you are retired and are looking for a satisfying hobby, the benefits of learning and playing guitar can be appreciated all your life.