Jedi Mind Tricks: The Psychic, Scientific Tendencies of Guitarists

Photo credit: Mirjoran

Keeping up with the trends and changes in today’s world can be tough. Every day that passes seems to bring upgraded technology, and your once top-of-the-line devices seem obsolete. For some, slowing down and being creative is the perfect way to step outside of the bustling world around. Every creative hobby is different, and some can take you further out of the practical world we live in.

Music can do exactly that. Depending on what instrument you play, music can become a world unto it’s own. But a recent study from 2012 actually found that one musical instrument can differentiate your brain chemistry from the rest – guitar.

Guitarist’s brains can actually synchronize with each other. When playing together, two guitarists can actually sync up before and during to help stay on track and keep tempo. The areas of social cognition and musical creativity are affected, causing added chemistry between the musicians. The study finds that guitarists can actually be more intuitive than other musicians – when writing or playing a solo, brain scans showed that guitarists shift from the conscious state of mind to the unconscious. This shift helps to transition from the practical state of mind that we normally exist in to the creative and musical part. In short, guitarists essentially shut out the big picture and focus on playing and feeling the music they are playing. If you have ever listened to Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, or any other classic guitarist play a beautiful solo, you might notice them changing into a different musician. According to recent studies, their brains might be doing exactly that.

Guitarists also tend to learn through watching rather than sight-reading. Instead of reading music, guitarists learn better by watching someone else play and pick it up that way. Knowing the proper music theory behind what they play is what separates the good from the great, but some of the best did not classically study music. One of the great jazz guitarists, Pat Martino, was in a terrible accident, which resulted in almost 70% of the left temporal lobe of his brain having to be removed. That marked the end of his jazz guitar career… or at least it should have. Two years later, Pat had completely re-learned guitar and everything he had previously known how to play.

Some might attribute that to luck. Others might say that guitar is a creative lifestyle.

Source: PolicyMic

Drew Evans

Drew is a Seattle-based freelance writer. He spends too much time playing music, binging on Netflix, and watching his beloved Philadelphia sports teams.