It’s no secret that learning a musical instrument, any musical instrument keeps you young. It can change your brain’s structure and enable you to become a better learner, lending you the mental acuity and capacity for learning that you may not have had since your college years (however long ago they may have been). Music is good for the soul as well. It can be a cathartic experience that helps you to come to grips with your emotions in healthy ways. It can be your refuge after a hard day’s work or it can transport you back to a particular time and place with breathtaking expediency. Whether you consume your music through a smartphone as you slog through your daily commute or whether you’re the kind of vinyl enthusiast for whom listening to music is an activity which must be done in solitude and without distraction, few would argue that it doesn’t enrich their day to day lives.
But there’s something about learning the guitar that’s particularly appealing to music enthusiasts of any age. Few instruments can match the guitar’s mystique ubiquity and undeniable cool factor. So long as you keep it well maintained, change your strings regularly and practice every day, your guitar can be a good and loyal friend. It can be your solace after a long day and a talking point at parties. But it also has a few less obvious health and cognitive benefits which we will now examine…
It teaches you discipline
As Aristotle once said, “Through discipline comes freedom”. When we exert more discipline over our lives we’re able to manage our time better, enjoy a better quality of life and be more like the people we want to be. The trouble is that our current society is not conducive to discipline. The digital age has made us pampered babies, accustomed to getting whatever we want with a few dabs on a touch screen. The discipline, patience and diligence required to learn this instrument will help you to master the discipline needed to get back in the driver’s seat and take control of your life.
It improves memory
Do you regularly turn up late for social engagements because you’ve lost your keys or get frustrated when you can’t find where you left your wallet? It can be very tedious and if you’re advanced in years it can be a particular source of anxiety. Fortunately, there’s evidence to suggest that learning the guitar can help your brain retain up to 20% more information when you become a devoted student.
Music therapy is nothing new but while you may appreciate the soothing capabilities that listening to music has, it’s even more therapeutic when the mellifluous melodies are the work of your very own hands. Plucking those strings provides an emotional outlet which can be the perfect antidote to a long, stressful or frustrating day.
It will also help to prevent you from choosing less healthy outlets. Instead of reaching for a bottle of wine after a stressful day, you’ll reach for your guitar instead.