Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
kavor
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Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by kavor » Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:48 pm

Hi,
I want to start a discussion about health benefits of playing classical guitar. If you can post links/papers/studies what kind of effects classical guitar in particular brings to your mind and/or body please post it. There are a lot of materials pointing to general benefits of playing music such as this:

https://www.libertyparkmusic.com/powerf ... ng-guitar/

However, I am interested in classical guitar in particular. Has there been any comparative studies between instruments or would playing flute or classical guitar be just the same with respect to some of these things mentioned in the article:concentration, memory skills, better coordination etc.

Kavor

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zupfgeiger
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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by zupfgeiger » Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:06 pm

I could only name the health benefits of making music in general, particularly at an older age. It's the best remedy against senil dementia one can imagine. But guitar playing? I only know some health risks like back trouble from sitting in an awkward position for hours and hours.
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kavor
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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by kavor » Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:37 pm

Well, I don't know any instrument that is played while running and most are played in sitting position. The question could be asked: are you more inclined to do sports after 3 hours of playing guitar or after 3 hours watching TV? Or, can you remember more stuff after memorizing long tract of classical music or do you like lose capacity to remember other stuff?

I was trying to cram a lot of stuff into my head recently for a meeting and I just thought, would I be better of with or without playing music?

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joachim33
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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by joachim33 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:37 pm

zupfgeiger wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:06 pm
I could only name the health benefits of making music in general, particularly at an older age. It's the best remedy against senil dementia one can imagine. But guitar playing? I only know some health risks like back trouble from sitting in an awkward position for hours and hours.
If it is as a hobby/amateur musician, doing it for hours and hours is perhaps not advisable. With anything that is over done, repetitive strain injuries (RSI) is a risk. I think this is a general issue for all musicians, not just a guitar.

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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by Jack Douglas » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:56 pm

zupfgeiger wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:06 pm
I could only name the health benefits of making music in general, particularly at an older age. It's the best remedy against senil dementia one can imagine. But guitar playing? I only know some health risks like back trouble from sitting in an awkward position for hours and hours.
For me playing the classical guitar has helped keep my hands and fingers flexible and sensitive. And as you mentioned a great remedy against dementia. It has the added social benefit of bringing people together and forming friendships that otherwise would not have happened. At my age, 70, staying connected and alert is another benefit of classical guitar. I relish attending guitar events and meeting old friends and new ones. It's in invigorating.
I can't document this, but I've found that the playing of classical guitar helps clear my mind when I'm working on a landscape architecture design problem. Whatever there is about the playing of classical guitar music seems to free up my creative thinking.
I've never checked my blood pressure after playing, but I have to believe it helps keep it low. That said, I still include aerobic exercises in my routine.
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WilliamSchart
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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by WilliamSchart » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:37 pm

kavor wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:37 pm
Well, I don't know any instrument that is played while running and most are played in sitting position. The question could be asked: are you more inclined to do sports after 3 hours of playing guitar or after 3 hours watching TV? Or, can you remember more stuff after memorizing long tract of classical music or do you like lose capacity to remember other stuff?

I was trying to cram a lot of stuff into my head recently for a meeting and I just thought, would I be better of with or without playing music?
Never seen a halftime show at a college football game? Some bands are pretty energetic in their marching, at time approaching running as they move from one formation to the next.

riffmeister
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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by riffmeister » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:50 pm

Playing CG has an outstanding effect on my general well-being, I do believe.

Alan Green
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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by Alan Green » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:00 pm

Playing any instrument is generally accepted as helping to stave off Alzheimer's:

http://alzheimers-review.blogspot.co.uk ... -play.html

kavor
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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by kavor » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:17 pm

Alan Green wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:00 pm
Playing any instrument is generally accepted as helping to stave off Alzheimer's:

http://alzheimers-review.blogspot.co.uk ... -play.html
"Dr. Scicutella explained that using music as a participatory exercise is often beneficial, whether it's learning to play an instrument or just singing some favorite old songs. "I would suggest engaging the patient in whatever music that the person liked prior to the diagnosis of dementia or music that was popular in their youth/teenage years/early 20s," she said. "Engaging patients in active participation, such as a sing-a-long or playing a simple instrument like cymbals or drums is preferable to passive activities, where they are just sitting in an audience listening to music."

This is great. This is what I was looking for. It seems that level of participation matters. It would suggest that playing classical guitar vs playing drums would make difference, would it not; although it would off course depend on the level one's playing. I think these cross instrument studies would be beneficial, I haven't seen anybody do them. Any info on this? For some reason, the harmonies and complexity involved in classical guitar ought to stand out as most beneficial for the mind. Guitar and piano. But this is just a guess.

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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by AndreiKrylov » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:08 pm

kavor wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:37 pm
Well, I don't know any instrument that is played while running and most are played in sitting position. The question could be asked: are you more inclined to do sports after 3 hours of playing guitar or after 3 hours watching TV? Or, can you remember more stuff after memorizing long tract of classical music or do you like lose capacity to remember other stuff?

I was trying to cram a lot of stuff into my head recently for a meeting and I just thought, would I be better of with or without playing music?
Health benefits of playing classical guitar (in "standard" position)? :) -

1. Backpain and different related problems.
2. Carpal tunnel and other hand' fingers problems...
3. perfectionism (mental problem)
4. if it is your job - then also other problems - not really reliable way to make living, junk food and bad sleep in travel, constant worry about your health which could affect your performance etc.

But... it is a great hobby... and great instrument for lonely artists to express themselves!
Serious Creative Art could be really beneficial - just look at life of Vincent Van Gogh and many other artists...

Seriously ... there are no health benefits.
But it could be a great joy to do it! and ... sometimes despair too...

and also I think that "role of the memory" is really overvalued in some ways ...
- hard drive have lot more memory nowadays than any of us.
How could we use things... how could we operate and discern and construct different subjects and ideas is much more important than the knowledge/memory of certain amount of facts and events. If our brains could be trained in a old age - then challenging books, videos, audio etc.especially in science and philosophy could make our brains work much more efficient than playing same exercises, scales etc. again and again... what our brains learn because of it? - just mechanical activities related to our hands... do we really train our brains or our bodies this way?
and if we are training certain parts of our bodies, and harming other parts (back for example) is it really so beneficial?

I did it all my life because I love it (sound), I love to use to create my own soundworlds and to express myself and because I made living doing it all my life.
Yes it was beneficial for me because I did (created etc) a lot but for my physical health?
My father never ever played guitar...but in all ways he was much healthier than me in my age :)

playing different instruments?
I play guitar for 50 years or more,
I played piano ...I play flute...
I had to play accordion (to pass exams in Music college)
I played domras, balalaikas, different folk instruments etc.
But ... I feel cold about them...I just love guitar, lute, flute (wooden).
Was it beneficial to play all of them? For my health???
Well... in some way it was just a waste of my timе...

Regarding Alzheimer?
I am not a doctor, but I think the main culprit is a culture and lifestyle...
Modern civilization is equal for majority to sedentary life...indulging in eating of junkfood... poisoned environment inside and outside of our houses...endless hours spent in traffic jams while breathing exhaust of other cars, unknown effect of many ways of artificial electromagnetic and other radiation which emitted through our bodies etc. etc.
Will playing of classical guitar overcome effects of all those (and many more) things? unlikely...
But ...placebo could also make (temporary) positive effect on someone who
believes in it... :)
Last edited by AndreiKrylov on Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Andrew Pohlman
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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:25 pm

As some have said, keeping the manual dexterity / fine motor control in good shape is certainly a health benefit. The overwhelming benefit is helping with the aging brain. As the article stated, active is better than passive. And in the studies I've read, continual learning is critical to the beneficial effects. For example, if you practice calculus nightly, that's better than nothing, but not as good as learning new pieces.

Now, is guitar better than flute ? I've seen no studies to say it is. And if you take a bit of critical thinking related to the brain structures involved, there seems to be lots of overlap regardless of instrument type.

So the temporal and frontal lobes are involved in memory. The frontal lobe also handles expression/interpretation, and future planning like preparing for a difficult passage while actually playing a previous part. The precentral gyrus controls motor functions, while the postcentral gyrus handles tactile feedback from fingers, and proprioceptors so you know where your body parts are in 3D space. The cerebellum handles motor memory. The brain stem handles meter. The occipital lobe handles all visuals, while the temporal lobes (again) handle auditory input/feedback, i.e., ear training. The thalamus is the switchboard of all this interconnected communication. And learning new pieces keeps the hippocampus functioning well. Then if you sing and play at the same time!?!?!! Did I leave out any brain parts ?

With that many brain parts involved, the brain is getting fully exercised. The difference between guitar and flute may be like benching 400lbs versus light weights. But I have no peer-reviewed empirical data for that. :D

For me though, I gain a lot due to the relaxation it brings me. Enhanced social connections too.
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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by AndreiKrylov » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:42 pm

Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:25 pm


For me though, I gain a lot due to the relaxation it brings me. Enhanced social connections too.
that is nice! (social connections )
but would'nt you gained them also if you would join ...something else club too?
Is it really guitar or your personality?
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

Andrew Pohlman
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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:08 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:42 pm
Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:25 pm
For me though, I gain a lot due to the relaxation it brings me. Enhanced social connections too.
that is nice! (social connections ) but wouldn't you gained them also if you would join ...something else club too? Is it really guitar or your personality?
I suppose you could say that. The difference for me is that the type of social connection I make with classical guitar is far more healthy than other types. From first hand experience rock 'n roll is all about who you do drugs with - this is one of the significant reasons I did not pursue rock music. The traditional American "masculine" social connections, like the Moose Lodge or Rotary Club, are really just drinking fraternities. I'm too old and broken for public volleyball or basketball. And public softball is, again, an excuse for drinking. My professional societies are simply extensions of work and I cannot think of them as social or healthy.

Classical guitar? I can't play while "under the influence" - that's healthy ! And preparation for musical presentations is automatically productive, constructive, and healthy for body and mind if not done in excess.

Yes - playing 3 hours day or more will become destructive at some point as we age - we can't do it forever! I practice 1 to 1.5 hours, and that seems to be about right for my damaged body and age. More practice time than that, my hands start to go numb, pain increases and limits physical ability. Then I'll be in constant pain for days afterward. Yah - excessive practice can be harmful.
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2015 Trevor Gore custom Neoclassical
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kavor
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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by kavor » Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:36 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:08 pm
kavor wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:37 pm
Well, I don't know any instrument that is played while running and most are played in sitting position. The question could be asked: are you more inclined to do sports after 3 hours of playing guitar or after 3 hours watching TV? Or, can you remember more stuff after memorizing long tract of classical music or do you like lose capacity to remember other stuff?

I was trying to cram a lot of stuff into my head recently for a meeting and I just thought, would I be better of with or without playing music?
Health benefits of playing classical guitar (in "standard" position)? :) -

1. Backpain and different related problems.
2. Carpal tunnel and other hand' fingers problems...
3. perfectionism (mental problem)
4. if it is your job - then also other problems - not really reliable way to make living, junk food and bad sleep in travel, constant worry about your health which could affect your performance etc.

But... it is a great hobby... and great instrument for lonely artists to express themselves!
Serious Creative Art could be really beneficial - just look at life of Vincent Van Gogh and many other artists...

Seriously ... there are no health benefits.
But it could be a great joy to do it! and ... sometimes despair too...

and also I think that "role of the memory" is really overvalued in some ways ...
- hard drive have lot more memory nowadays than any of us.
How could we use things... how could we operate and discern and construct different subjects and ideas is much more important than the knowledge/memory of certain amount of facts and events. If our brains could be trained in a old age - then challenging books, videos, audio etc.especially in science and philosophy could make our brains work much more efficient than playing same exercises, scales etc. again and again... what our brains learn because of it? - just mechanical activities related to our hands... do we really train our brains or our bodies this way?
and if we are training certain parts of our bodies, and harming other parts (back for example) is it really so beneficial?

I did it all my life because I love it (sound), I love to use to create my own soundworlds and to express myself and because I made living doing it all my life.
Yes it was beneficial for me because I did (created etc) a lot but for my physical health?
My father never ever played guitar...but in all ways he was much healthier than me in my age :)

playing different instruments?
I play guitar for 50 years or more,
I played piano ...I play flute...
I had to play accordion (to pass exams in Music college)
I played domras, balalaikas, different folk instruments etc.
But ... I feel cold about them...I just love guitar, lute, flute (wooden).
Was it beneficial to play all of them? For my health???
Well... in some way it was just a waste of my timе...

Regarding Alzheimer?
I am not a doctor, but I think the main culprit is a culture and lifestyle...
Modern civilization is equal for majority to sedentary life...indulging in eating of junkfood... poisoned environment inside and outside of our houses...endless hours spent in traffic jams while breathing exhaust of other cars, unknown effect of many ways of artificial electromagnetic and other radiation which emitted through our bodies etc. etc.
Will playing of classical guitar overcome effects of all those (and many more) things? unlikely...
But ...placebo could also make (temporary) positive effect on someone who
believes in it... :)
Hello,
If you think the major factor in inducing health problems is guitar and also that guitar doesn't have any health benefits, to prove yourself otherwise try to live without it. If that is not an option listen to experiences of people who have abandoned playing music for one reason or the other after playing for a long time. In my opinion, music gives structure in our lives that makes us strong. I think you are so used to it that you no longer recognize its effects. If you think otherwise, stop playing for a few days, see how it goes eh? :)

On the subject of placebo effect, it is truly difficult to test this out because we have this variable of 'believing in it' How do you establish that person has belief in something? First person testimony? While that may be valid in the paradigm of some sort of social sciences, I think its really tenuous to establish anything like this. But you can talk about it at parties etc, its cool ;)

Kavor

kavor
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Re: Health benefits of playing classical guitar

Post by kavor » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:25 pm

This placebo effect is most misunderstood phenomenon in the world...one of them anyway. Its a case of simple conditioning that people with various motivations have turned into some kind of 'belief' thing.

Mind is lot smarter than that. Simply put, your mind has experienced on many occassions that medication cures you or makes you better. Your pleasure centers produce chemicals that to an extent alleviate your condition (placebo doesn't help with heart defect or a brain tumor) when you take meds.

This conditioning process is not present with guitars. You haven't like had severe cold and played instrument to make it better. There is no basis that your mind to conclude that. You can't just start believing that yellow chairs cure you and they will. There has to be some empirical evidence for your mind to think so.

There is a great book titled 'this is your brain on music' I read it awhile ago...the guy also speaks about this functioning of many brain parts during instrument playing...

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