Fine Motor Skills
If you’ve ever tried to learn how to use chopsticks as an adult, you’ll know how difficult it is to coordinate your fingers to precise position each stick to create a firm grip on your food. Learning how to play the guitar is kind of like that, but about a thousand times more difficult (in my completely unscientific estimation). Just like picking up a new sport, learning to play the guitar greatly increases your hand-eye coordination as it requires very specific muscle movements that your body isn’t quite used to doing yet. Most beginner guitar players often describe the weird sensation of your hands not responding to your thoughts. The reason for this feeling is simply because your body has never performed those complex movements before, so it’ll feel almost impossible to move your hands in the manner required to play chords and scales. However, if you stick to it and keep practicing, those fine movements become easier and easier to perform, and you’ll also find that you’re able to pick up more new movements a lot faster.
Probably the most enjoyable aspect of playing guitar is the cathartic experience that comes with creating music. It’s one of the most accessible avenues for free expression besides visual arts! The free expression found in creating music is linked to many health benefits.
Freedom Through Discipline
Admittedly, learning how to play guitar doesn’t necessarily nurture discipline. However, getting good at playing guitar definitely does because the path to get really good at something requires a lot of discipline and dedication.
As I mentioned before, the learning curve for music is pretty steep, and each stage of your development will present new and more challenging obstacles. I’d love to say that it eventually gets easier, but the truth is, the initial stage of learning guitar is probably the easiest, and as you progress through your musical journey, noticeable and “eureka” moments are harder and harder to come by. This means that in order to keep progressing and increasing your guitar playing skills, you have to be very disciplined in your approach to practice.
It’s definitely possible to spend your entire musical journey jamming alone in your bedroom, but the best musical moments come from playing and performing with other people.
Finding people to jam with, or even participating in an open jam, can lead to meeting a ton of cool like-minded people. The shared experience of playing music together can also strip away a lot of psychological barriers and often leads to close and long-lasting relationships. On a personal note, most of my closest friends are people with who I’ve played music with. Some I’ve known since my childhood, and some I’ve only met in the past year.
Some of these benefits may seem obvious in hindsight, but they’re often overlooked. Most people get into playing guitar simply because they want to pick up a new hobby or impress their friends and family (many guys I know did it to impress some girl). However, we should be aware of the deeper and more powerful benefits of picking up the guitar, or any musical instrument for that matter.