Learning guitar or any other instrument takes time and dedication, and importantly, a love of music. Music, or “organized wiggly air,” is one of the greatest gifts bestowed upon humankind, the boundaries of which continue to be explored and pushed to this day. One such conduit of “wiggly air” is the guitar. Portable, affordable, with plenty of recognizable music in its catalogue, it’s the perfect instrument to pick up during quarantine (or whenever)!
It’s also not massively loud (unless you want it to be), so it’s great for those of us stuck in an apartment with paper-thin walls and nosy neighbours.
Oh, did you need some more reasons to grab this instrument by the neck and get strummin’? Read on for 5 benefits of learning guitar during quarantine!
Stimulate Your Brain
I’m sure you’ve found how important, yet difficult, it is to keep your brain stimulated during extended periods of isolation. Studies show how beneficial a new skill is to brain health. Your brain is a muscle, and the old adage “use it or lose it” applies here. What better way to stay sharp than by learning a challenging task like the guitar?
This task will challenge your memory since you’ll have to memorize melodies and chord shapes to play it well. It is also well known that as we age, our brains slow down. However, we can mitigate this by picking up a new skill, and music is one of the best examples of an activity that can seemingly perform miracles on an ageing, or even damaged brain.
Learning Guitar: Music Is Therapeutic
Many studies have been done showing a link between brain health and music.
One example comes from Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. In chapter 20, he writes about Kitty Stiles, a trailblazing music therapist in the 1960s. She used music to connect with patients with encephalitis (a form of brain inflammation). Amazingly, these patients could be brought out of their lethargic states (to various degrees, even to full movement and engagement) by learning guitar and participating in singing or dance.
Formal music therapy in the United States arose in the 1940s in response to war. Many soldiers returned from the battlefields of World War II with head trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (referred to as “shell-shock” before we knew better). Learning guitar or other instruments we now know exercised neuroplasticity. Music was found to improve these patients’ disposition almost immediately: “…it was found that their pain and misery and even, seemingly, some of their physiological responses (pulse rates, blood pressure, and so on) could be improved by music”.
Of course, one doesn’t have to have brain trauma to experience or notice the benefits of “organized wiggly air” on our moods. Why not keep the blues away by learning…the Blues? This genre of music originated in the American South with African American musicians. The most famous region is the Mississippi Delta, an area that produced famous Bluesmen from B.B. King to Robert Johnson (now recognized as two of the best Blues guitarists in history). The Blues is also a great way to start learning the guitar.
It Keeps You Busy
Learning a new skill like the guitar is time-consuming, which is great because many of us have found we have too much time on our hands. We can keep our hands and brains busy while we wait for the pandemic to pass by learning some of our favorite songs on guitar.
Not only is building the mental connections and muscle memory time-intensive, but you’ll also need to pace yourself, so calluses have time to form on your fingertips. Until then, your fingers will be soft and sensitive to the constant pressure you’re subjecting them to with the guitar strings.
Self-Expression Is Healthy – So Is Learning Guitar!
Ever had something to say that words don’t quite cover? Say it with a song.
You can write one or choose one someone else wrote. All you need is three or four chords, and off you go!
Do I really need to say anything more? Playing guitar is the most fun I’ve ever had. You can do anything with it, from playing simple and great-sounding chord progressions to arpeggios played at hyper-speed. As with any worthwhile hobby, how much you get out of learning guitar depends on how much you’re ready to invest in it. However deep you decide to immerse yourself in the world of the guitar is up to you. That’s the beauty of it!
I’m so excited for you to start learning! If you’re just doing research right now, I hope I was convincing. If you’re ready to sign up for some private or online group guitar lessons, check out TakeLessons.com to browse our database of teachers either online or in your area. (You can find me here!) In the immortal words of AC/DC, “for those about to rock, we salute you.”
Hopefully, you can put these tips into play and start practising, or even writing your own songs!
We hope you enjoyed this article! Whilst you’re here, why not check out some more of our helpful guides? We recommend, How To Play Slide Guitar For Beginners, A Guide To The Best Guitar Care, and How To Tune A Guitar For Beginners to get you started!
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