Is guitar a good hobby? If you’re looking for a fun new obsession, and guitar is on your shortlist, you’ll probably be wondering if it will be a good fit for you.
In this article we’ll take a look at a selection of the amazing benefits you will gain from playing guitar – some of them might surprise you! At the end of the post we’ll also answer some common questions you might have if you’re on the fence about diving in!
Is Guitar a Good Hobby?
Playing guitar can be an extremely satisfying and rewarding hobby, and is an excellent outlet for your creativity and passion for music. It is one of the most popular instruments to take up, and brings with it many amazing benefits, both physical and mental, which will help enhance other areas of your life too!
Let’s take a look at 19 of the incredible benefits of learning this rewarding instrument.
Benefits Of Playing Guitar
1. Guitar Is A Great Stress Reliever
Playing guitar (or any instrument!) has a calming effect on the mind and body, and is linked to lower blood pressure, decreased heart rate, a lower rate of anxiety and depression, and overall reduced stress levels. It is the perfect stress buster!
Research (such as this 2002 study) has shown that playing music helps to reduce your stress levels by lowering the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in your body.
We’re off to a good start here!
2. Guitar Will Boost Your Confidence
Playing guitar helps improve self-esteem due to the sense of mastery and control that you will naturally develop as you progress with the hobby. It is the satisfaction achieved in being able to do something to a high standard that improves our self-image. Finally nailing a song or technique after a long time working at it will reward you with a huge sense of pride.
In addition, as your ability on guitar increases you will likely start performing with other musicians as part of a band or jam nights. This will give you the confidence to put yourself out there through your musical ability and creativity.
Through playing with other musicians you will also nurture a sense of belonging, which is super important in helping to feel self-confident!
3. Guitar Is Good For Your Brain
If you want to exercise your body, you need to head to the gym. If you want to exercise your brain, play some guitar (or any instrument!). Music has a very mathematical form, and although you probably don’t realize it, your brain is having to carry out a lot of work to make sense of the complex soundscapes.
According to a respected physician at John Hopkins Medicine, “If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout.”
4. Guitar Helps You To Make More Friends
Playing guitar can also help introduce you to brand new friends. By simply pulling out a guitar at social gatherings and parties, you will immediately bring people together. Your social circle will truly explode as a guitarist!
Although it’s perfectly fine to remain a bedroom guitarist for your entire musical career, you’ll find that by far the most rewarding experiences from playing music will come from jamming with other musicians.
And finding those other musicians to play with will result in you getting to know a whole bunch of other awesome people with similar interests to you. Many of the musicians you jam with will undoubtedly become lifelong friends.
In addition to that, when you start to play live you’ll also get to know your fans, other bands that you gig with, their fans, the staff at the venues, and probably the salespeople at your local guitar store too. Not to mention all of the awesome musicians that you will meet online in forums, and on social media platforms as well.
And if you’re a parent, you’ll be pleased to hear that learning an instrument such as guitar is also a great way for your kids to make friends too! A 2007 study that looked at 4-year-old children, found that those who took part in joint music-making activities enjoyed improved social skills and group cohesion.
5. Guitar Will Make You Feel Happier
A 2011 study has shown that playing music releases dopamine, an important chemical in the brain that is also known as the ‘feel-good’ hormone. It simply switches on the reward centers in your brain, giving you an instant mood boost.
Now you understand why many players almost become addicted to guitar!
6. Guitar Is A Good Family Bonding Experience
Another chemical that is released when playing and singing music is Oxytocin, also known as the ‘bonding’ hormone. It will literally cause feelings of trust between family members. It is thought that this is why mothers will naturally feel the need to sing to their newborn babies.
Listen to and make music with your kids to truly nurture that special bond!
7. Guitar Will Broaden Your Musical Tastes
For the duration of their lives, many people will continue to listen to the same old songs and genres of music that they did during their teens and 20s. What a boring way to live!
However, guitar will naturally expand your musical horizons as you dip into new genres in order to learn fresh techniques and styles. You will come to gain a new appreciation for genres of music that you might have previously dismissed as being boring or untrendy.
I live in the UK, where the country music scene is almost non-existent. One day I was exposed to some incredible chicken pickin’ licks in a guitar magazine I had picked up. They were so much fun to play that I delved deeper into the genre, and now country music is a fairly regular part of my listening habits!
8. Guitar Encourages Self Discipline
The road to becoming an accomplished guitarist is a long one, with a steep learning curve, and this undeniably requires a lot of self-discipline and dedication to succeed at.
If you believe in the (abitrary!) theory that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something, this would break down as follows:
|Hours of Practice Per Day||Time To Achieve Mastery|
That’s a lot of discipline! But chances are that you are not interested in reaching such a high level of ability anyway.
Whether you simply want to learn a few campfire songs, or become the best of the best, there’s no shortcut to learning guitar. I mean, you’re not going to be able to buy your first instrument and miraculously nail Free Bird after just a few hours of learning, right?
So through being able to stick to a regular practice schedule and persevere to achieve progress, you will undoubtedly improve your levels of self-discipline.
9. Guitar Can Help To Improve Your Memory
A 2014 study has shown that being musical not only helps us to access already stored memories, it also aids us in storing new ones as well.
And this is a benefit that will last your whole life! A further study from 2011 demonstrated that older musicians possessed superior memory skills when compared to non-musicians.
10. Guitar Improves Your Hearing Ability
The difficulty in hearing speech in noisy environments is a common complaint as we get older. But fear not, as guitar can help us out here too!
The same memory study mentioned above also found that older musicians had an improved ability to distinguish speech in noise when compared to non-musicians.
11. Guitar Makes You More Attractive
In a 2014 study commissioned by eBay UK, it was found that 90% of Britons questioned found someone who plays guitar to be instantly more attractive!
Well if the boffins at eBay say it’s true…
12. Guitar Helps With Verbal Intelligence
A 2011 study – Short-Term Music Training Enhances Verbal Intelligence and Executive Function – found that a whopping 90% of children who undertook music lessons received higher scores on verbal tests. Another study from 2010 found that children who started studying music before age 7 went on to develop larger vocabularies, a higher verbal intelligence, and a better grasp of grammar.
Comparable findings have also been noted amongst adults. After all, you are essentially learning a new language when you pick up an instrument!
13. Guitar Improves Your Fine Motor Skills
From the first time you pick up a guitar, you will immediately begin to develop improved fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Every time you practice, your brain will reward you with better and better accuracy, an ability that will translate into many other activities as well.
A 2009 study that examined the effects of musical training on structural brain development in children, showed a correlation between learning to play an instrument and improved fine motor skills.
14. Guitar Cultivates Creativity
Learning to play guitar will cause your brain to function in new and creative ways, which will translate into other activities in your life as well. Many creatives will use an instrument as a way of getting ‘in the zone’ before embarking on their next task. It’s a brilliant way to get those creative juices flowing!
As we already mentioned in point 5 above, playing an instrument is a very enjoyable and uplifting hobby. As a result, when you are jamming on your guitar you will likely feel happier, and it is when we are happy that our imagination is at its best and most creative!
15. Guitar Can Boost Your Immune System
It has also been demonstrated that playing an instrument directly helps to improve immune system effectiveness.
In a 2013 study, it was found that playing music increases levels of the antibody immunoglobin A in the body, as well as natural killer cells. These are the cells that ward off invading viruses and raise the effectiveness of the immune system.
16. Guitar Strengthens Your Arms
There are over 20 different muscles that come into play when playing a guitar. Although you might think that the fingers do most of the work, it’s actually the forearms where most of the movements stem from. As a result, most guitarists will build stronger forearms over their musical careers.
In addition, playing guitar will also help to improve flexibility throughout the whole arm, since the muscles used are in constant motion.
17. Guitar Can Become A Career
If you learn to play guitar well, there is the possibility of making a good living in the music industry. This might be through putting on your own gigs, selling your music, teaching guitar, taking up freelance music jobs on websites such as Fiverr, or becoming a session player amongst others.
As long as you have the personality to go along with your guitar playing skills, there is also the potentially lucrative option of trying to become an ‘influencer’ on various social media platforms.
18. Guitar Can Help You Lose Weight
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit that this benefit is fairly tenuous! But you do burn calories through playing guitar, so it’s worth a mention. Practicing on a chair burns roughly 80 calories per hour, standing ramps it up to 159 calories, and moving around on stage (or pretending to!) will help you expend 239 calories every hour.
Every little helps, right?
Find out more about the energy expenditure across various musical instruments.
19. Guitar Is Just Plain FUN!
But you got that by now, right? I mean, I’ve been playing for over 20 years now and it still never gets old!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Guitar Hard To Learn?
As with most new hobbies, guitar is difficult to learn at the start, but becomes easier the longer you persevere with it. Most people who quit playing guitar will do so in these early months. But if you stick with it and get past the first few months, you’ll quickly find that things begin to fall into place and your efforts will be greatly rewarded!
It also depends on the level of ability that you hope to achieve. Learning to competently strum a few chords around the campfire could take only a few months, while aiming to become the next Steve Vai could take years!
Can I Teach Myself Guitar?
You can absolutely teach yourself guitar! Having a personal guitar tutor is a great route if you can afford it, but there are many excellent (often free!) resources available which will offer you a solid, structured route to mastering guitar by yourself.
And you’ll be in great company! Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Dave Grohl, Frank Zappa, Kurt Cobain and a ton of other guitarists are all self taught.
Am I Too Old To Learn Guitar?
Absolutely not, you can begin to learn guitar at any age! Although it’s true that the younger your are the faster you will likely pick it up, you are still capable of learning to play whether you are 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 or even older!
Beginner Guitar Guide
If you’ve made it this far and have decided to give guitar a solid go, then good for you! Guitar is an incredibly rewarding instrument to take up, and you definitely won’t regret it!
A great place to learn what you’ll need to get started is my 8-part Newbie Guide. Although it’s geared toward left handed players, everything inside will also apply to right handed guitarists.