I found many real researches about the benefits of listening to music, but so far I found none about the benefits of actually playing music on an instrument.

The internet is flooded with "how playing music is good for your brain" but none had a reference to a research.

Why am I asking: At this point, I am basically forcing myself to play the guitar (home hobby, not a profession) believing it is good for me for the long run, but with all my love to music (mainly listening to it) I find this activity boring and pointless.

closed as off-topic by Dave, ttw, Carl Witthoft, Dom Sep 3 '18 at 14:06

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    I very much doubt that anyone takes up playing an instrument to obtain 'brain improvement'. There are many other good reasons. That one is possibly a by-product which could be beneficial. – Tim Sep 3 '18 at 7:40
  • If your brain is engaged when you play music, that is probably good for your brain, but if you find playing music pointless and boring then your brain is not engaged, and what good could you expect to come from that? There is no point in playing music if you find the activity pointless and boring. – ex nihilo Sep 3 '18 at 11:22
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because about psychology, not musical practice. – Dave Sep 3 '18 at 11:39
  • The title question is different from the question in the body. – Dave Sep 3 '18 at 11:41
  • Close vote is based on the title question and the mid-match – Dave Sep 3 '18 at 11:42

I'm tempted to think this has a good chance of being closed as 'opinion-based'. However, before it does... my opinion...

If you're doing something you really enjoy; striving to improve, learning new things every day, that in itself is good for you. They say life is made of the new experiences we find.

Repetition is dull; we learn nothing & get bored.

If you're already bored sh... ermm... witless by the entire process, you will gain nothing.

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    Funny that the French word for 'practice' and 'rehearsal' is - repetition... – Tim Sep 3 '18 at 6:51

Playing guitar, in my case at least, helped me to chill when I was anxious. So at least, it was helping my mental state.

But it really depends. It seems you were getting bored by the mechanical repetition, then it's probably not working.


What a strnage agenda. The idea of music being a chore is very alien to me !

A brief bit of research reveals playing an instrument reduces the change of dementia.

A word regarding your enjoyment of music: This is akin to forcing yourself to play football when you'd rather just watch it, in order to get fit. It'll work but it's not a given that you'll enjoy it. But there's a difference: If you enjoy listening to music, try listening to yourself play. Make stuff up. Find where the bits are that you enjoy.

If you're able to do that, and find enjoyment in just playing, then you don't need to practice. Just play. play what you like, vary it, play that .. whatever. "play" is the keyword, not "work".

If you sit down and try to practice something regimentally, then yes that is boring. Are you deliberately choosing difficult exercises to test yourself? That might be your problem.

If you look for a favourite part of a song you're learning (eg for me it was the guitar solo at the end of Sultans of Swing, and Voodoo Chile by J. Hendrix), then you've got something to aim at which is more rewarding. Soon you'll realise that it's not just that part, but the context & how the music got there that's just as important. Next thing you've learnt the whole piece.

Or just noodling about and finding what the guitar has to offer you will work: you might end up writing a song.

All these will work the same on your brain, if indeed such cognitive improvements are generally the case, but going for something you want to achieve / hear is miles more fun and that means you're more likely to keep it up.

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