This may be a bit of a bold claim but over the last couple of years and especially the last three months this is an idea I've been developing in my teaching.

Aside from performing I am a college guitar instructor. Many of the students I have are beginners and hobbyists. By nature of being in college, these students are looking towards future careers and lifestyles so for these non-music majors, the guitar may not play a vital role for them. Regardless, they are still drawn to it and want it to be a part of their life. Along with seeing this I've encountered many adults and retirees who have told me they wish they stuck with the guitar when they were younger and kept it up. So I feel compelled to develop a motivation for students when they are younger that they can more likely hold on to through their life.

Here are a few of my suggested thoughts.

Physical Tension – if technique is learned properly, the guitar can work well to relax a tense body. When I was remodeling our house I took a year off of music and when I started coming back to playing the guitar after 8 months of not playing at all, the guitar actually relaxed my tense hands from the strenuous work I had been doing.  More than ever I believe people need ways to minimize tension and the guitar could be a routine way of achieving this.  

Stress – I think it's pretty obvious that music can be very therapeutic. The vibrations of the instrument can sooth. Certain songs and melodies can strike up certain emotions. A common instrument that therapists recommend patients learn is the harp for these same reasons. If students can develop a trigger in their mind that when they are stressed, they can have the guitar available as a tool to relax.  

Lack of Focus – I know when I am challenged with a piece of music and I have a plan of attack, my sense of focus tends to be heightened.  Keeping up with the guitar and pushing yourself a little can keep your mind strong.  

Memory – Just a thought here. When we are young going through schooling we are challenged with memorizing many things, but after this we typically aren't challenged to memorize new information as much. Learning and memorizing a piece of music can be a great way to exercise our memory and develop or maintain methods of memorizing.

I can think of other ways on how learning and practicing the guitar can be beneficial to anyone's lifestyle. It might be a way to connect with someone. It might be a way to maintain your creativity.  There have been many studies on how learning music can benefit a person.  I recall a couple of NOVA episodes that focused on this study. (Musical Minds and A Mind for Music)

Actually I think it's possible with many disciplines to incorporate ideas like this, not only with the guitar. I'm just being selfish and trying to make my case to make the guitar seem more important. These aren't fully developed ideas but I just thought I would share the possibilities and suggestions. I would love to get feedback on this and ideas that might help further this idea so please leave your comments or send me a message.





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