Professional guitar player and teacher Tom Hess will be the first to tell you that time, patience and regular hard work is required to develop your skills as a consistently solid guitar player. The benefit of this is that you are well-prepared to pursue a successful career in the music industry, to which many guitar players aspire. But what about the person who has no plans to pursue a music career – are there benefits that come with learning to play the guitar that make the effort worthwhile? In fact, there are a number of things that come along with the ability to pluck or strum. Here are just a few.
Have you ever heard that petting a dog or cat reduces stress? Well, the same thing is true about playing a guitar. There is a clear correlation between actively playing and lowered heart rate and blood pressure. Chronic high blood pressure especially is a key cause of heart disease, and so anything that can help you lower or prevent this is a good thing. Aside from these physical benefits, you can approach your practice sessions or performances the way that yogis approach their meditation – as a time to escape from the worries and pressures of daily life and to let stress fall from their minds. This has benefits that carry over into every aspect of your life, especially because it helps you to get a good night’s sleep.
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The connection between mathematical ability and musical ability is one that has been well appreciated for a long time, although it hasn’t always been clear whether these two things come together, or whether one can help develop the other. More and more, however, it is looking like learning to play the guitar can actually help to stimulate the areas of the brain that control mathematical thinking. It is also becoming accepted that the act of learning to play music helps to improve memory and the areas of the brain that control the fine motor control of the hands – this means that learning to play the guitar could make you better at a whole range of other things at the same time.
When it comes right down to it, playing the guitar is fun! In fact a study conducted by McGill University has found that that listening to music releases dopamine, the pleasure hormone associated with sex. What this means is that just listening to music makes you feel really good, and playing it adds another level of pleasure to the mix! Aside from how playing your guitar makes you feel, think about how it makes your friends feel when you pull out your guitar at the beach party. The social benefits of being able to strum along while your friends sing their favorite songs are many – not the least of which is the fact that studies repeatedly confirm that people find people who can play guitar to be more attractive. This is a definite plus!
As you can see, there are many benefits to learning to play the guitar, so why not start today?