Guitar therapy can take many different forms. Here is a simple session with a student. We have simply chosen a key to play in and we freely improvise until the session reaches a natural conclusion. Great fun and ultimately very relaxing!

Guitar-playing holds benefits for everybody, and while some of these benefits are especially valuable to those with specific physical or psychological needs, all are life-enhancing in general.

The idea of 'guitar as therapy' does not have to be a response to medical diagnosis. As an activity it is simply therapeutic for a very many reasons and when tuition is tailored towards specific needs, it does provide an effective supplementary treatment.

Children with ADHD may benefit from the conditioned attention requirements of learning to play any musical instrument. There is also a natural built-in reward system associated with learning how to play a favourite piece of music.

Many children with ADHD have self-esteem problems caused by difficulty in making and keeping friends. This breeds a negativity that potentially spirals into a viscous circle. The positive effect of playing the guitar can help to create peer acceptance that overrides negative preconditioning and leads to a motivation to perform well in all aspects of life.

For more about ADHD and life skills, follow this ADHD together link.


The very existence of musical savants such as Derek Paravicini provides evidence that the 'brain wiring' of many on the autistic spectrum may not only facilitate musical ability, but may actively enhance it. Where verbal communication is a problem, musical expression may not be; and the latter may well help with the formulation of the former.

Once again, the specific 'coolness' of guitar advances the prospect of social acceptance and interaction. Combined tuition for those with autism, along with their carers, can provide multiple benefits as well as respite.

For information regarding possible financial assistance for those with autism, and for their carers, please click this National Autistic Society link.

Traditional therapies designed to help with depression are often geared towards the release of emotion and/or the recovery of basic motivation. Music allows a foundational expression of emotion as well as providing an absorbing distraction that is also a useful application of endeavour. The guitar is one of the most expressive instruments and almost certainly the most versatile. It is also easily transportable and highly social. Playing the guitar can lead to greater self-confidence and peer acceptance.

Depression itself can often be the result of 'change'. Music practise helps to counteract the very idea of change by providing a positive, and therefore self-perpetuating, routine.

Advanced players can utilise specialised meditational guitar techniques separating the mind from complex performance action.
Addiction Recovery
One rule of recovery is 'to create a new life' that offers a distraction to old habits and musical instrument practise is both consuming and worthwhile.

Another rule of recovery is having a method of relaxation and the guitar offers a great way to let off steam. As an instrument it is the most versatile and can be used to create everything from aggressive rock music to emotional classical. It is also as easily a solitary practice as is it a social one and, unlike many solitary practices, this is one that leaves the feeling of satisfaction; a sense of purpose and time well-spent. The guitar is an instrument that is readily available; easily transportable and that can be played at any volume.
There are various arthritic conditions that should be medically diagnosed and treated. However, in general, stiffness of the finger joints require gentle mobility and dexterity exercise that can be usefully provided with the bonus of music production! Under careful instruction the guitar fretboard can provide a fantastic gym for out-of-shape fingers.
Dementia and age-related mental conditions
Recent research by the University of St. Andrews suggests that musicians in general have 'sharper minds' and that playing a musical instrument can inhibit age-related mental problems.

The original article, with a link to the published paper, can be seen by clicking the link below:

Cancer and long-term care
This article from the BBC reveals research showing that 'making music videos 'helps young cancer patients cope'.

Cancer requires careful medical diagnoses and resulting treatment that is often long and drawn out. The idea behind guitar as therapy includes many of the innate facets associated with the kind of music therapy mentioned in the above research. However, Ian Dyball has been keen to pioneer the idea that the guitar offers a mental distraction and a motivation that is uniquely both individually and socially 'eloquent'. That is to say that it provides a 'language' for self-expression that is intimately beneficial whilst also being part of an activity that is itself explicitly admired. In short, it lifts moral and provides a purposeful and admirable activity that can be performed with limited exertion.

Advanced players can utilise specialised meditational guitar techniques separating the mind from complex performance action.

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'Ian has proved to be a great teacher for my son, who has specific learning needs following a brain tumour. Ian has been patient and understanding about my son's requirements. My son is extremely happy with his tuition and is enjoying his lessons which he finds both stimulating and therapeutic'
Lisa (From FirstTutors web review)