By Ben Tanner
I’ve been playing the guitar for about 20 years. And for over 10 years before that, I played the piano.
So I have a lot of experience with musical instruments.
Over the years, I’ve found that playing the guitar contributes to my health and well-being in several different ways.
Let me name a few.
1. Playing the guitar stimulates creativity
Like a lot of guitar players, often when I sit down to play the guitar I just fiddle around, so to speak.
In other words, I don’t play any particular song written by someone else, I just play some different chords and a few different notes, and see what happens. Improvisation.
Playing this way is a creative release. It stimulates my brain. I find different connections and patterns, some of which work better than others.
That’s one reason why playing the guitar is good for your brain.
2. Playing guitar promotes social connection
When I was in college, I would often sit on the couch in my apartment and play the guitar. Some of my roommates did the same thing. And if the weather was nice, we left our door open as well.
There was a fair amount of foot traffic in front of our apartment, and people would often walk in just to hear what we were playing on the guitar.
That’s just one example of how playing the guitar promotes social connection with other people. Basically, it brings people together and gets them to sit and listen for a while, and gives you something to talk about.
It’s also something you can plan events around, like a talent show. And that leads to even more social connections.
3. Playing guitar expresses (and releases) emotions
This is particularly true if you sing along. Singing a loud, emotive song is kind of an emotional release. If you’re feeling angry and you sing something angry, or if you’re feeling happy and you sing something happy…it kind of lets you blow off some steam while expressing your emotion.
I’ve often found this to be the case. Sometimes I play a song written by someone else, and other times I just improvise my own song based on what I’m feeling. Either way, it can be cathartic.
4. Playing the guitar is a stress-relieving habit
Kind of similar to the point above, having a guitar around gives you a way to take a break and blow off some stress.
For example, back when I was in school and did a lot of studying, sometimes I would play the guitar for 10 or 15 minutes to take a break. It really helped relax my mind and made me feel more calm and ready to take on whatever challenges were ahead.
A nice thing about a guitar is you can leave it sitting in a convenient place, like next to your couch. And then it’s always there if you feel like picking it up to play a tune.
So it’s a good habit and a pretty easy habit to build in some ways. Especially if your guitar is easy to find. 🙂
5. Playing guitar helps you build finger dexterity
There are a lot of little coordination skills with your fingers that can get better when you play the guitar.
Basically, your left-hand gets accustomed to moving very precise distances, and your right-hand gets accustomed to moving your fingers in a very coordinated fashion, like when you’re fingerpicking.
There are a lot of other activities that help with hand-eye coordination and finger dexterity, but guitar is one that has a lot of other benefits as well as mentioned above.
So if you’re looking for a way to kind of improve your finger coordination, learning the guitar is definitely a good option!
There are several ways in which playing the guitar can contribute to your health and happiness.
Playing guitar stimulates your mind and builds creativity. It opens up social connections and fosters interaction with other people. It also helps relieve stress.
In addition, playing the guitar can help you build some physical skills like finger coordination and dexterity.
If you’re wondering how to get started, you might consider checking out some free online guitar lessons. And if you don’t have a guitar, try borrowing one from a friend.
Ben Tanner has been playing guitar for over 20 years. Recently he started a blog to help other people learn guitar, so they can also experience the joy of music.