It’s no secret that playing a musical instrument can have numerous benefits to your general health and wellbeing and the guitar or ukulele are no exceptions.
Listed below are 3 reasons where I know I have certainly benefited but this is the tip of the iceberg and you may have your own favourites or requirements if you are thinking of learning.
Learning The Guitar has helped my wellbeing by…
Enhancing my Creativity
Traditionally I saw myself as a logical and practical thinker where everything has its place and a certain level of uniformity. I could understand the concept of maths at school (eventually) or tech drawing and metalwork but trying to write an interesting essay or create an attractive piece of art seemed impossible. Once I was learning the guitar then first I was trying to recreate my favourite songs I then found I wanted to create my own songs both musically and lyrically.
Ideas started flooding into my head at odd times like sitting on a train or laying in bed and even though I struggled to translate some of these to the guitar in the earlier stages of learning, I jotted down these ideas or hummed them onto my trusty cassette recorder with a view to return to later. I did actually revisit these sometimes years later and created some of the pieces that made it into my original band and lesson repertoire. The guitar of course is particularly suited to unleashing your creativity as it is relatively economical to buy, easy to store and therefore readily accessible to play in almost any location.
It is also easily transportable so ideal for joining up with, and collaborating with other like-minded people and continuing to create. Of course, we often like or even need to get creative in other areas of your life, such as writing an essay for school, your CV, decorating a room or solving a problem at work or at home. Playing the guitar and noodling around for a few minutes can create some much-needed space in your head helping get in the zone so those ideas just start to flow. I honestly believe that if I wasn’t a guitar player I would not have been able to open my mind to the possibility of solving some of the challenges I have had to, and still do, deal with.
Given me a Sense of Belonging
As a race, we are social animals and for many of us being with other like-minded people is where we love to be, we thrive on sharing our thoughts and ideas and enjoy learning new ones from those around us. We are attracted to people with similar interests and the guitar is an ideal catalyst to bring people together and make everyone feel special and wanted.
Playing in a band, open mic or even solo to an audience brings everybody in that room together leading to new friendships and richer social life. Sharing music with family and friends plus the social interaction that comes with it can be good for our wellbeing in general, and can strengthen our support networks and sense of belonging as we feel included.
Whether you just listen to music, discussing or playing it, being with others who share your passion is a great way to connect.
Boosted my Confidence and Self Esteem
For me, learning to play the guitar had an enormously positive effect on my confidence and self-esteem. By the time I left school, this was at an all-time low and the very thought of ever getting on stage for a school production sent shivers down my spine but as I started to learn the guitar I wanted to emulate my guitar heroes I was watching at the many gigs I went to and thought, I want a piece of this action.
Playing the guitar in front of others was very scary at first and it took a while to build up the confidence to express myself publicly and share my creativity.
This had a positive impact in both my personal and professional life, socially I felt more at ease, going for interviews was a more comfortable experience, presentation skills, how to speak to a crowd like best man wedding speeches actually became an enjoyable and not dreaded experience – and I wouldn’t even have a drink for dutch courage beforehand.
What I found is, am I’m sure you will too is that ultimately, the more you improve at playing the guitar the bigger the gains to your self-esteem and confidence. This in turn gave me an increased sense of satisfaction, helping me to feel good about myself and the bonus of improved physical and mental health and wellbeing.
I hope you found this enlightening and you too get to experience the benefits of playing the guitar that I still do to this day.
I would love to hear of your experiences or what you would love to achieve on your guitar learning journey
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