Music has been known to have therapeutic effects on people. Whether it is listening and singing to songs or songwriting and dancing to music, all these prompt healing and wellness. But music activities that promote good health are not only limited to listening, making, and singing songs. Playing an instrument provides the same perks too.
Take playing the guitar, as an example.
Several studies show that it offers several health advantages such as reduced stress. It can even help lower blood pressure and release hormones called dopamine.
But how does playing the guitar exactly promote wellness and good mental health?
How Does Playing a Guitar Benefit You?
Playing the guitar can benefit you in various aspects. From its stress-reducing effects to its exercise-related benefits, it would not only help you creatively but also socially, psychologically, and mentally.
Here’s a video with a good explanation on this topic:
- Reduce stress. Perhaps one of the best perks of playing the guitar is that it acts as a stress reliever. Yes, you read that right; it helps in reducing stress. A study published in Medical Science Monitor—who is also led by Barry Bittman, M.D of the Mind-Body Wellness and in cooperation with researchers from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems—revealed that “playing any type of musical instrument can reverse multiple components of the human stress response on the genomic level.” Simply put, playing musical instruments like guitar can reduce stress—if not completely removed—imprinted on your genetics. Such events can then greatly enhance one’s overall ability to manage stress, as well as trauma.
- Serves as an exercise and lowers blood pressure. Believe it or not, playing the guitar can serve as exercise training too which helps to lower blood pressure. A study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that “active music-making has training effects resembling those of physical training exercise training […] renders concrete health benefits for the musician.” And that includes lowering blood pressure. According to the study, playing an instrument for 100 minutes a day can significantly lower blood pressure.
- Helps to release happy hormones. Aside from stress, scientists have discovered that playing the guitar can also help lift your mood. Apparently, the activity prompts the release of the hormone called dopamine—which is also known as the happy hormones. A study from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital also shows that even the anticipation of music helps with the production of dopamine. In return, this helps elevate the overall mood of the person which helps greatly when handling stressful situations.
- Improves memory and ADD symptoms. Aside from overall mental health and wellness, playing the guitar can also induce brain-boosting effects. Improved memory, for instance, is one of its prevalent perks. Based on scientific research conducted by the University of Zurich, folks who play the guitar is found to have an improvement in terms of memory. Such discovery, however, is not only limited to people with poor memory. It is because, according to the study, playing an instrument such as the guitar can also help a person focus which is extremely helpful for folks who are suffering from ADD symptoms.
Playing the guitar could not only help you with your overall mental health and wellness, but it also has social benefits. Here are a few:
- Meet people. The most common impression why folks choose to learn how to play the guitar is because they believe it would help them meet people and make friends. If that’s what you have noticed too, it is because there is some truth to it. Among all instruments, a lot of people are more interested in guitar as it is the easiest and most accessible instrument in the string family. And in essence, it helps you attract people with the same interest. Aside from that, music alone—which is what a guitar is for—is known to bring people closer.
- Improved sex life. In connection with meeting new people, playing the guitar can also help improve your sex life. Published in the Psychology of Music, a study reveals that females tend to relate intelligence, physical prowess, social success, and even good work ethic with folks who play the guitar. And all the mentioned characteristics make one sexually attractive.
Personal Development Benefits
Aside from social and overall health benefits, you will gain something for yourself too when you play the guitar! Here are a few:
- Helps build confidence. Not only with the guitar but playing an instrument of any type can also build and enhance one’s self-esteem. It is particularly effective if you start playing an instrument as a kid. A report from Fox Music says that children who regularly learn and play the guitar had better social skills. Apart from that, playing an instrument helps a person express himself comfortably by performing for, say, a small group of people or even in public. All in all, playing an instrument such as the guitar makes a person confident in presenting themselves, be it with their friends, peers, or even strangers.
- Improved motor skills. If you noticed that you are doing bad sports or any type of activities that require hand-eye coordination, then it is most likely that you have poor motor skills. The good thing is that playing the guitar—aside from playing sports—can help you improve your motor skills. Based on a study titled “The Effects of Musical Training on Structural Brain Development,“ children who underwent musical training—instrument playing, specifically—for 15 months had seen improved finger motor skills as well as auditory discrimination. Their brain scans, on the other hand, also showed structural brain differences, particularly in the areas where auditory and motor processing are connected. Another research conducted by Anglia Ruskin University reveals that music therapy helps stroke patients improve their speech as well as motor processing.
- Boosts creativity. Other than an enhance self-esteem, playing the guitar can also boost one’s creativity. Everybody knows that life becomes monotonous doing the same thing every day. But adding creative hobbies such as playing an instrument can help you get your creative juices flowing. Music, after all, is part of the arts.
Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.