If you’ve always wanted to learn to play guitar, now is the time to start! Believe it or not, there are some seriously impressive benefits associated with this popular activity… from boosting your physical and mental wellbeing to making you smarter, happier, and even more creative.
There are lots of great hobbies, but making music is an experience like no other. In this article, I’ll cover 32 amazing benefits of playing guitar. Regardless of your current skill level, you can reap the following rewards.
Ready to rock? Great! Let’s dive right in…
Physical Health Benefits of Playing Guitar
1. Reduces Chronic Pain
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 50 million Americans are living with chronic pain. If you suffer on a daily basis, music could act as natural pain relief.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Utah Pain Research Center found that “music provided meaningful intellectual and emotional engagement to help reduce pain.”
While simply listening to music can provide temporary relief, playing guitar will engage your brain and take your mind off your symptoms, potentially resulting in decreased pain.
Keep in mind that new guitarists tend to deal with finger pain initially. This helpful guide from Healthline will help you keep your digits pain-free and in tiptop shape.
2. Prevents High Blood Pressure
Practicing guitar could have similar benefits to physical exercise. In fact, an encouraging study conducted at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that actively making music lowered participants’ heart rate and blood pressure.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather jam on my guitar than sweat it out at the gym!
3. Improves Hand-Eye Coordination
Many daily tasks require using the eyes and hands simultaneously. Playing guitar requires both fine and gross motor skills, so every time you pick up your instrument, you’re strengthening these skills.
Although hand-eye coordination takes time to develop, you’ll likely be surprised by how fast your skills improve. For a confidence boost, I recommend recording your jam sessions to keep track of your progress. Trust me: Listening to your developing talent will be a great motivator!
4. Increases Flexibility
Playing guitar requires flexibility, but there’s no need to worry if you’re not particularly flexible… There are countless resources to help! My favorite? This user-friendly guide from guitarhabits.com, which walks guitarists through eight stretches to increase their flexibility. There is tab underneath if you can’t read sheet music.
Even as a seasoned musician, I do these stretches pretty often. You’ll notice your flexibility improving the longer you play the guitar—and the more advanced you become. The key is consistent practice and allowing your flexibility to increase at its own pace.
5. Enhances Hearing
Your sense of hearing is bound to improve once you start practicing guitar. Playing an instrument requires knowing if your instrument is correctly tuned and recognizing differences in sounds.
Along your guitar-playing journey, I recommend familiarizing yourself with ear training, which will help you play and listen to music in a completely different way! If you’re interested in reading more about ear training, I recommend this great virtual lesson by Justin Guitar, in which he covers seven ear-training benefits.
Mental Health Benefits of Playing Guitar
6. Reduces Stress
It’s a well-known fact that music has a calming effect. The Mayo Clinic even recommends music for stress relief, along with physical activity, a healthy diet, meditation, laughter, and sleep.
So, why is playing or listening to music calming? It relieves tension, lowers stress hormones, and serves as a welcome distraction. I personally love that the recipe for a calmer, more content lifestyle includes picking up my guitar daily (and plenty of z’s).
7. Stimulates the Brain
It may seem obvious that playing an instrument would boost brainpower, but it’s stimulating in so many fascinating and surprising ways!
According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, musicians have a knack for recognizing and correcting errors. Plus, those who play an instrument regularly may be less likely to experience a decline in their mental functioning.
Unsurprisingly, musicians also tend to have faster response times while simultaneously maintaining accuracy.
8. Encourages Expression of Emotions
Playing music is an excellent way to express emotions, and I’ve never met a musician who isn’t passionate about their art.
Have you ever noticed how a single song can shift your mood or change the course of your day? Playing music is no different. If you need a pick-me-up after a rough shift at work, opt for upbeat tunes. And if you’re feeling mellow, choose calm, relaxing songs to coincide with your peaceful vibe.
9. Improves Happiness and Overall Wellbeing
When we engage in activities we love, our happiness baseline begins to improve. Sure, this is a slow process, but wouldn’t you love to be happier in the long run?
Hobbies can help us get through tough times—and appreciate the good times. Music is especially uplifting, as it stimulates multiple senses. If you’re anything like me, the act of picking up your guitar gives you a little endorphin rush. It’s a daily highlight I simply can’t live without. Let’s face it: Playing guitar is addictive in the best possible way!
10. Sparks Creativity
If you’re looking to develop a creative flair, playing music could lead you there! According to an article published by colatoday.com, “People who take piano lessons [or] guitar lessons are… much more creative and imaginative.”
In essence, learning to play guitar—or another instrument—sparks the brain to form new, exciting ideas. This process takes place in multiple areas of the brain, including the frontal cortex and hippocampus.
11. Expands Knowledge Base
When you pick up your first guitar, chances are you’ll want to learn everything there is to know about this amazing instrument. You’ll expand your knowledge base by memorizing chords, taking in new information, and broadening your horizons.
Guitarists are often drawn to fellow musicians, and there’s always something to learn. If you’re open to ongoing learning, you’ll be a student for life.
12. Encourages Mindfulness
Playing guitar is a great way to get out of your head and become more mindful of the present. If you tend to dwell on past events and/or stress about the future, practicing an instrument will help you live in the moment.
You don’t have to be an advanced guitar player to start developing a more mindful approach to life. Learning new chords and songs will train your brain to bask in the here and now. It’s difficult to dwell or worry when you’re focused on your hobby.
13. Enhances Intelligence
Did you know that learning to play a musical instrument could boost your IQ by up to seven points? That’s right… picking up that guitar could actually make you smarter!
As you continue learning, different parts of your brain will take in new information. Not only will this process make you a great guitarist; it’ll also increase your intelligence.
14. Keeps the Mind Sharp
Since playing guitar requires continuous learning, your mind will always be engaged. Practicing your instrument could actually protect you from cognitive decline, which is incredibly important as we age.
According to an illuminating 2009 study, a decline in cognition tends to start in early adulthood and continues to progress as we get older. There’s no better motivator to keep picking, is there?
15. Boosts Confidence
Confidence is key when it comes to moving forward and working toward our goals. Learning a new skill can lead to new opportunities, and mastering the guitar is a fantastic avenue to take.
As your confidence increases, you’ll be more open to meeting new people and seeking out new adventures. Who knows? You might even find yourself gracing a stage someday!
16. Leads to Feelings of Success
I’m a big proponent of celebrating accomplishments, and learning to play guitar is definitely something to celebrate! I highly recommend basking in your success, rewarding yourself for reaching small and big milestones, and allowing yourself to enjoy the entire process.
Because learning to play an instrument requires lots of ongoing learning, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to revel in your success. I encourage you to enjoy every moment!
17. Improves Patience
It’s virtually impossible to learn to play guitar without developing better patience. Even if you feel like an innately impatient person, your dedication to your instrument will prove otherwise.
You’ll likely notice an improvement in many areas of your life as you become a more patient individual. The skills and traits we develop from playing guitar often carry over into our daily lives.
18. Encourages New Bonds
Forming connections with other people is so much easier when you share a common bond. When you form friendships with other musicians, you’ll feel a sense of belonging and, best of all, you’ll never run out of interesting things to talk about!
While music is timeless, it’s also ever-changing, making it a great conversation starter. After all, studies have shown music to have a positive impact on all living things!
19. Expands the Social Circle
Whether you have a big group of friends or you tend to be a loner, playing guitar is a great way to grow your social circle. According to an article published by Medical News Today, face-to-face interaction can help build resiliency to stress. In other words, socializing can actually make us healthier. How cool is that?
If you’re taking lessons from an instructor, ask about the best spots for live music in your area, or simply follow local bars and clubs on social media for updates on upcoming events. Who knows… you may end up playing for a crowd!
20. Combines the Most Important Things in Life
Playing guitar, and delving further into your love for music, is the perfect way to combine the things you cherish most in life. Invite your friends along to local music events, and be sure to introduce your loved ones to fellow musicians. Enthusiasm is contagious, so don’t be afraid to show your excitement for your newfound hobby.
21. Encourages Helping Others
One of the best aspects of playing guitar is passing your knowledge onto others. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll have the ability to teach family members and friends everything you’ve learned. You can also offer lessons to troubled teens or adults. Sharing your gift for playing guitar will make you feel downright amazing!
22. Teaches Collaboration
In many cases, collaborating with other musicians leads to long-term success. It’s difficult to learn guitar in a bubble, as virtually every musician can offer valuable tips and helpful hints.
If you’re lucky enough to jam with fellow local musicians, you’ll quickly learn tricks that will catapult you to the next level of your guitar-playing journey. If you’re learning from an instructor, don’t hesitate to ask questions. It’s also important to welcome constructive feedback.
If you happen to be learning to play guitar virtually, reach out for help from the online guitarist. If you haven’t noticed already, this community is generally eager to offer assistance to new musicians. There is always help available.
23. Piques Others’ Interest
When your world expands, you instantly become more interesting. People will undoubtedly ask about your love for guitars, which will give you the perfect excuse to show off your skills and spark others’ interest in the hobby.
If you haven’t found that special someone, your guitar-playing skills might just open the door to a new relationship. Stepping out of your comfort zone will likely expand well beyond learning guitar. It could open up a whole new world of possibilities.
24. Encourages Online Connection
If you haven’t created an Instagram or TikTok account to share your passion for guitar playing, now is the time to go virtual! Technology allows us to share our interests and gifts with the world, and social media is one of the best ways to find inspiration.
More Benefits Associated with Playing Guitar
25. Encourages Discipline
Learning to play guitar takes dedication and commitment. You’ll want to practice on a regular basis to build finger strength and stamina.
I’ve always considered it a good idea to make music a daily practice, but rest assured that missing a day here and there won’t stunt your success.
The amount of time you spend strumming shouldn’t be your primary focus. An article published by Fender highlights the importance of deliberate, focused practice. I’d add that consistency is key. If practicing guitar becomes part of your daily routine, you’ll be less likely to skip it.
26. Improves Time Management
As mentioned above, playing guitar doesn’t necessarily require a major time commitment, but fitting it in may be difficult if you have a busy schedule. I recommend penciling in your practice sessions just like you would when scheduling an important appointment.
27. Improves Reading Skills
When you learn to play guitar, you’re learning a brand new language. You’ll learn to listen for subtle cues in order to reproduce what you hear. You’ll pick up on nuances that will change how you listen to music.
As you learn to transfer notes from the page to your fingers, be sure to practice patience. Learning a new language takes time, and music is certainly no exception.
28. Boosts Math Performance
It’s no secret that music and math go together like peas and carrots. Playing a musical instrument requires sequencing and rhythm. This informative post on TrueFire’s blog explains the correlation between mathematics and octaves, half steps, and tuning.
29. Leads to Goal-Setting
If follow-through isn’t your strong suit, your guitar might just be the key to reaching your goals. The pride and achievement you feel from learning a new lick or mastering the minor scale will lead to more goal-setting, both short-term and long-term.
The best part of setting guitar-playing goals? It will make you a better musician.
30. Can Lead to Increased Income
There are numerous ways to make money once you’re a seasoned guitarist. Offering lessons is a great way to make extra cash. Songwriting and ghostwriting can also be quite lucrative if you’re good at your craft.
You can also keep an eye out for companies looking for honest reviews, which is an excellent way to try new guitar-related products. In some cases, you’ll even get reimbursed for your time.
Offering workshops is a quick moneymaker; plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of sharing your expertise with novice musicians. These workshops can be offered locally, or you can offer them online to reach a wider audience.
31. Can Lead to Amazing Adventures and Experiences
Your love for all things guitar-related could lead to a surge in your sense of adventure. You’ll likely end up travelling far and wide for gigs and studio recording sessions.
You’ve probably heard Brad Henry’s quote, “The only thing holding us back is ourselves.” Music is no exception. If you dream of expanding your musical knowledge, stepping out of your comfort zone could lead to some amazing life experiences!
32. Offers Insight into Other Cultures
As you learn new music styles, you’ll likely wonder where specific songs originated. Musicians often take a deep dive into music history, thanks to their keen sense of curiosity. By researching songs, you’ll gain new insight about various cultures, and your appreciation for new styles could result in an increase in your musical tastes.
Are You Inspired?
Although I’ve shared 32 pretty amazing benefits associated with playing guitar, you’ll undoubtedly notice this practice changing your mindset, mood, and life in many more amazing ways, both big and small. Enjoy the journey, and be patient with yourself as you learn and grow as a musician.
I’ll leave you with this timeless quote, which encompasses the power of song:
“Music can change the world, because it can change people.” – Bono of U2