Learning to play guitar completely changed my life. It has been my voice, my outlet, a path toward opportunities, and a way to make lifelong friends. It can be difficult at the beginning (and at other stages, too), but just like with anything else, the struggles are worth it if you can break through.

In this guide, I’ll go over some of the known benefits of picking up the ol’ six-string. And if you still need convincing after reading all this, playing guitar helped me meet girls. That should clinch it for most people.

Benefits of Playing Guitar at a Glance

  • Improves Memory and Cognitive Skills
  • Enhances Creativity
  • Teaches Discipline and Patience
  • Develops Social Skills and Teamwork
  • Improves Mathematical Performance
  • Enhances Coordination
  • Increases Confidence and Self-Esteem
  • Sharpens Concentration
  • Therapeutic Benefits and Self-Expression
  • Mental Benefits
  • Broadens Musical Horizons
  • Attractive Skill
  • Gateway to Other Instruments

Improves Memory and Cognitive Skills

Learning to play the guitar isn’t just about making music. It’s also an excellent workout for your brain. According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, musicians have significantly more brain volume in areas associated with memory and cognitive function. This is because playing an instrument requires you to use both sides of your brain, which can lead to improved memory and cognitive skills.

Not only does learning guitar chords and scales help improve your short-term memory, but it also enhances your long-term memory. As you practice and repeat songs, you’re essentially training your brain to store this information and recall it later. This skill isn’t just useful for playing guitar; it can also benefit you in your daily life, from remembering names to multitasking at work.

I can attest to this – when I’m regularly practicing guitar, I feel noticeably sharper at work, which certainly tests both my recall and resilience.

Enhances Creativity

When you learn to play the guitar, you’re not just learning an instrument; you’re also unlocking a new form of self-expression. As you get comfortable with the basics, when the technique is so deeply “installed” that you don’t have to think about it anymore, you’ll start to explore different ways to play, perhaps even creating your own melodies and songs. This creative process can be incredibly fulfilling, giving you a unique way to express your feelings and ideas.

Creativity isn’t just about making music, though. It’s also about problem-solving. When you’re trying to master a tricky chord progression or perfect a solo, you’ll need to think creatively, experimenting until you find what works. This kind of creative problem-solving can be beneficial in many areas of life, from your career to your personal relationships.

In fact, when it comes to technique, I do recommend learning the fundamentals, but not going too far with it. The moments of troubleshooting you do on your own and your unique solutions to problems you encounter are what will differentiate you and shape your unique voice on the instrument.

Teaches Discipline and Patience

Learning to play the guitar is a journey, and like any journey, it requires patience and discipline. You won’t become a guitar hero overnight. It takes time to build up your skills, and there will be plenty of challenges along the way. But with patience and discipline, you can overcome these obstacles and continue to grow as a musician.

It’s difficult to keep picking it up, even it if is fun to play. This is especially true if you’re older. It can be like working out – sometimes, the first few minutes are really bad, but once you’re into it, you’re happy you started strumming.

The discipline you learn from practicing guitar can be applied to other areas of your life as well. Whether it’s sticking to a workout routine, studying for an exam, or completing a project at work, the discipline you develop from learning guitar can help you achieve your goals.

Develops Social Skills and Teamwork

Playing the guitar isn’t just a solo activity. It can also be a great way to connect with others. Whether you’re jamming with friends, playing in a band, or performing in front of an audience, guitar playing is often a social experience. This can help you develop your communication skills, learn to work as part of a team, and build strong relationships with others who share your passion for music.

Play guitar can also help you communicate in a way you might be unable to with words. Some of the quietest people I know have a ferocious voice and an unlimited vocabulary with a guitar in their hands.

Playing in a band or ensemble requires a high level of teamwork. You need to listen to the other musicians, coordinate your playing with theirs, and sometimes step back to let others take the spotlight. These are valuable skills that can benefit you in many areas of life, from your career to your personal relationships.

Improves Mathematical Performance

You might not think of playing the guitar as a mathematical activity, but there’s actually a strong link between music and maths. When you play the guitar, you’re constantly counting beats, identifying patterns, and understanding fractions as you divide beats into halves and quarters. This can help improve your mathematical skillsand enhance your understanding of mathematical concepts.

A study by the University of California found that music trains the brain for mathematical achievement. So, while you’re strumming away and enjoying your favorite songs, you’re also giving your brain a mathematical workout. This can be particularly beneficial for young learners, helping them to understand and enjoy maths in a new way.

With that said, I must confess that I failed math in high school – twice. And this was during the peak of my guitar playing. However, I can also say that too much guitar playing is the sole reason I failed, so there’s that…

Enhances Coordination

Playing the guitar requires a high level of coordination. Your fingers need to press the strings in the right places, your strumming hand needs to keep the rhythm, and your brain needs to process all of this at the same time. This can significantly improve your hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

The coordination skills you develop while playing the guitar can benefit you in other areas of life as well. Whether you’re typing on a keyboard (I see the correlation to this one especially), playing sports, or even just doing household chores, good coordination is a valuable skill.

Increases Confidence and Self-Esteem

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of nailing a song you’ve been practicing for weeks. These small victories can give you a significant confidence boost and improve your self-esteem. As you see your skills improving, you’ll feel more confident in your abilities, not just as a guitarist, but in other areas of life as well.

Performing in front of others, whether it’s a small group of friends or a larger audience, can also help to boost your confidence. It can be nerve-wracking at first, but with practice, you’ll become more comfortable and confident in your performance skills.

If you’re lucky enough to start playing early, playing an instrument as cool as guitar can be a big reputation and confidence boost, particularly during your teenage years! I remember carrying that skill with me – everywhere I went, I felt more positive about myself because I had an ability that was rare relative to my peers.

Sharpens Concentration

Playing the guitar requires a high level of concentration. You need to focus on the chords, the rhythm, the melody, and sometimes even the lyrics all at once. This can help to improve your concentration skills and your ability to multitask.

A study published by the Stanford University School of Medicine found that playing an instrument like the guitar can improve your attention span and concentration skills. So, while you’re enjoying making music, you’re also giving your brain a valuable workout.

Therapeutic Benefits and Self-Expression

Playing the guitar can be a form of therapy. The act of playing, the vibration of the strings, and the sound of the music can all help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Many people find that playing the guitar provides a form of escape, allowing them to express their feelings and emotions through music.

Music therapy is a recognized clinical intervention, and playing an instrument like the guitar can have significant therapeutic benefits. Whether you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or just need a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, picking up your guitar and playing a few songs can help to improve your mood and reduce stress.

Mental Benefits: What Happens to Your Brain When You Play Guitar?

When you play the guitar, your brain is getting a full workout. According to a study published in the journal Brain and Cognition, playing an instrument like the guitar can stimulate your brain and improve functions like memory and abstract reasoning skills. This is because playing the guitar requires you to use both the creative and logical sides of your brain.

Playing the guitar can also help to improve your multitasking skills. When you’re playing, you need to focus on the chords, the rhythm, and the melody all at once. This requires a high level of multitasking, which can help to improve your cognitive flexibility and your ability to juggle multiple tasks at once.

Broadens Musical Horizons

Learning to play the guitar can open up a whole new world of music to you. As you learn to play different styles of music, from rock and blues to jazz and bluegrass, you’ll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of music. You’ll start to notice things in songs that you never heard before, and you’ll gain a new appreciationfor the skill and creativity of your favorite musicians.

As you explore different genres and styles, you might also discover new music that you love. Whether it’s a hidden gem from a genre you’ve never listened to before or a new release from a favorite artist, learning the guitar can broaden your musical horizons and enrich your life with music.

Attractive Skill

Let’s face it: playing the guitar is cool. Whether you’re strumming a few chords at a party or playing a full song on stage, people are drawn to the sound of the guitar. It’s a skill that can bring people together and create a shared experience.

But it’s not just about impressing others. Learning to play the guitar is also a deeply satisfying personal achievement. It’s a skill that requires time, patience, and dedication to master, and when you play that first song from start to finish, it’s a moment of pride and accomplishment.

Gateway to Other Instruments

Once you’ve learned to play the guitar, you’ll find that many of the skills you’ve developed can be transferred to other instruments. The understanding of music theory, the ability to read music, and the coordination skills can all be applied to learning other instruments.

Whether you want to learn the bass, the piano, or even the drums, having a background in guitar can give you a head start. It’s a versatile instrument that provides a solid foundation for musical exploration.

Conclusion

So, why learn guitar? From boosting your memory and cognitive skills to enhancing your social skills and self-esteem, learning to play the guitar is a journey of self-discovery, creativity, and personal achievement that can enrich your life in countless ways. I know it’s done so for me.

Why not give it a try? Pick up a guitar, start strumming, and see where the journey takes you. Whether you dream of playing in a band, writing your own songs, or just playing for your own enjoyment, the guitar is a versatile and rewarding instrument that is well worth learning.