There are a multitude of reasons to learn guitar, aside the obvious burning desire to be heard and admired for a skill that seems so out of reach for most people. We don’t all crave to play guitar night after night to a crowd of adoring fans screaming our name; some of us want to learn to play for another reason.
Guitar offers a creative outlet with an endless stream of new things to learn, which in turn carves out your unique sound. If you are not known for being the most vocal person in your circle of friends, then perhaps guitar is your megaphone, and your way of speaking a thousand words with just a handful of notes.
So how does learning guitar affect your state of well-being?
Learning guitar is often cited as a form of relaxation for many people because of the therapeutic nature of the instrument. When you learn guitar you can allow yourself to fully focus on one thing, and have a mini escape from the pressures of your everyday life. When you look at one of the most popular demographics of people learning guitar, you find that it is men over 40 who work full-time. These are people who are looking for a break from their job, and a little bit of alone time from their family. These are also people who are looking for a nostalgic experience as they work towards playing their favourite song from Rush, The Rolling Stones, or The Sex Pistols.
It’s all about reward
General well-being is heavily controlled by the reward we are given for the time we spend on something. When you spend just 20 minutes absorbed in learning one riff that takes you back to a place in your mind, you are likely going to feel a sense of achievement when you put the guitar down. This same sense of reward is experienced by gym-goers who are slowly working towards the body of their dreams.
Taking up a hobby such as the guitar can have a profound impact on your confidence, which can make big changes in your personal life. We have all seen the comical scenes in movies where an unconfident and “unpopular” kid suddenly becomes cool by playing guitar. Okay, so movies do make it all look like magic, but the reality is that gradually, as you become more and more confident as a guitar player, you’ll be more confident in your day-to-day life, which is how your well-being starts to benefit.
In my opinion, personal well-being starts to suffer when we spend too much time on something that offers nothing more than a financial reward. Most of the time, however, it is not realistic for someone to quit their financially-rewarding job to spend their time immersed in riffs and solos. Fortunately, learning guitar doesn’t mean that you need to spend 10 hours a day in a dark room with a music stand and a slowly dwindling list of friends. Just 20 minutes every day is enough time to both improve and experience a sense of achievement.
Confidence and Influence
One of the best incentives for someone learning guitar is to promise a friend that you will teach them to play in the near future. Every day when you find yourself with 20 minutes alone to practice guitar, you can have one clear goal: to be able to share this knowledge with your friend. This changes your confidence on the instrument massively, as you are now the influencer. This also works really well when someone works towards teaching guitar part-time alongside their full-time job. The guitar player then gets financial reward with a high sense of achievement, with the added bonus that they reenforce everything that they learn in their own time.
If you have been searching for that mini escape from your day to day pressures then maybe you should learn guitar today.
Playing guitar has stopped being something I do for everyone else (even if they weren’t listening) and has become one of the few things I do simply for the sheer enjoyment of it: 8 Good Reasons to Be a Lousy MusicianFeatured photo credit: grunge acoustic guitar via Shutterstock