Musopia carried out a Big Guitar Survey to find out more about the motivations and reasons behind learning a new instrument. In other words, we wanted to know what truly ignites the music in you. What we found out through the survey confirms many of the reasons why we love music.
According to the answers to our Big Guitar Survey, the most common reason behind learning to play was entertainment. Besides finding learning fun and rewarding, using those skills to entertain yourself and others played a big role in motivating you to learn to play. Also playing music in a group or band was specified as one of the fun factors. Who wouldn’t love a good jamming session with a group of people who share a love for music?
Your favorite songs
The close second motivational factor in the survey was learning to play your favorite songs. A cool guitar riff or a specific melody can spark the motivation for picking up a guitar. Among the most popular songs were many classics such as Hotel California, Stairway to Heaven, and Sultans of Swing.
Harmony & peace
Many survey respondents mentioned the calming effect of music as a reason for playing an instrument. It has been scientifically proven that music can reduce stress, anxiety, pain, and even depression. Music can also help calm down a hyperactive brain. The Finnish Brain Association says that this can be measured too: the effect of music can be seen in a lowering heart rate, decreasing blood pressure, and changes in hormone secretion, more specifically in lower cortisol and endorphin levels.
Funnily enough, also the energizing effect of music was among the top reasons and motivations for playing an instrument. While peaceful music can create a stress-free environment, more upbeat music increases energy and improves the overall mood. Very Well Mind’s article on the psychological benefits of music says that music can boost performance. In research done on this topic, it was found that adding a strong rhythmic beat to walking or running, boosted the athlete’s performance but also motivated them to stick to the endurance. On a side note, try adding songs with 125-140 beats per minute to your running list, this should do the trick for giving your pace a boost.
Also, the Finnish Brain Association backs up this theory. According to their article, as soon as a person hears music, his body syncs up with the music and its beat. When a group of people listens to the same song, their bodies start working in the same rhythm.
Escaping to music
Escaping their daily worries or stress with music was another frequently mentioned factor in the Big Guitar Survey. On one hand, learning a new instrument requires high focus and therefore does not allow the learner to think of other things. Setting up chords with one hand and strumming with the other, all while trying to stay in the rhythm, does not leave much space for worrying about your work projects. On the other hand, music’s stress-managing effects apply also to situations where the person is doing something else while “just” listening to music.
Other listed reasons included activating your brain. It was mentioned that playing an instrument activates a part of the brain that otherwise doesn’t get used in daily life. According to the Finnish Brain Association, music has many health benefits to the brain: it increases blood flow and can even improve your memory. Music stimulates the parts of the brain that are responsible for feelings, cognition, and motor skills.
Some respondents mentioned that learning one instrument has made them want to learn additional ones to broaden their repertoire.
For many people, music offers all reasons and benefits listed above. It is interesting how the factors can change depending on the situation and the kind of music that is played. We can conclude that music and learning to play it, make life better in many ways. The trick is to find the right kind of music for each situation.