A New Skill a Day Keeps the Boredom Away

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Published on April 10, 2020

You’ve all heard the phrase “Where words fail, music speaks.” Well, I think we’re all at a loss for words when trying to converse about our current state of affairs. We continue to repeat the same descriptors: boring, lame, annoying, boring. Let’s change it up a little: instead of talking about COVID-19 and quarantine, sing about it, write a song on guitar about it, take out your frustrations on a set of drums! 

I took some time this week to get back into playing guitar, something I picked up about a year ago before taking a hiatus from it to focus on school. I played for about two hours, learning the basic chords from a tutorial on YouTube and working on the riff from one of my all-time favorite songs: Hotel California by the Eagles. Though, I’m no Don Felder. Yet. 

Playing an instrument is extremely beneficial to mental health. In fact, in a study published in the National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health titled “A Prescription for Music Lessons,” a study found that playing an instrument had a significant, positive impact on communication, emotional release, anxiety and agitation in individuals suffering with depression. There is obviously no doubt that, in these stressful times, playing and learning an instrument will not only help occupy your time but will also benefit your mental health.

Taking a break from the routine to practice with my beloved guitar, Lyla! Photo courtesy of Chrissy Getts.

I am a living, breathing example of this study’s developments. At the young age of 5 I began a long journey of learning the piano. Since then I’ve picked up learning the marimba on my own, while also investing in cello lessons, voice lessons and, now, teaching myself guitar. Music has been an escape for me in the form of both listening and playing it, for my entire life. 

Any time I needed to meditate and take time away from the busy, stressful life I lead, music was there to recenter my soul, my brain and my heart. I hope you use this quarantine to allow music to do the same for you.