Practicing Guitar

Your Motivation to Practice Guitar

Monday, August 13, 2007 
By Colin O'Brien

Every single day I talk to someone who’s learning to play guitar. Some are practicing machines, and others just can’t get motivated to pick their guitar up. If you are in the latter group, don’t give up. There’s ways to get it going for you.

Let’s see if we can sum up your situation. You probably wish you practiced more and you know you should but somehow it’s just not happening. Wishing you practiced more just isn’t going to get it done though. You need to have a reason, something that’s going to make you want to reach for your guitar. It could be as simple as just to enjoy playing or it could be that you are getting ready for a concert or jam session. Maybe your reason is you are still trying to get that F chord happening.

The problem is, if you are struggling or overwhelmed you won’t practice. Think about this, how many times have you bought a guitar book because it had a zillion exercises? You were going to master them all. You probably did maybe less than 10 of them before the book was collecting dust. Or maybe you were super motivated and did 15 of them. Either way you didn’t finish. Did you give it enough time or did you quit within two weeks after realizing how long it would take to finish? Again, if the guitar book or guitar program seems overwhelming to you, you’re not going to practice it.

Are you the type of player who goes to your guitar lesson each week wanting to learn something different? Nothing ever gets completed! My experience shows me that when you to this, it’s because the challenge of the material turns you off and you don’t practice. So you search for something else to work on figuring it will be easier. But it’s not. This is usually when the “I don’t have time to practice guitar” thing enters. Think about that for a second. Am I right? Now, I know it’s hard to find practice time sometimes because life can be very demanding. But mostly we are just lying to ourselves saying we don’t have the time.

What you need to do is make smaller, more easily attainable goals for yourself. Don’t overwhelm yourself by hoping to do the Steve Vai 10-hour guitar workout if you can’t get yourself to practice 20 minutes a day yet. You need to start small and take it from there. 20 minutes a day is easy to do. If you commit yourself to this small goal for two weeks and do it faithfully everyday, the results will be addicting. Do it for three weeks and it will be a habit. You will want to practice more. And the more days in a row you practice, the harder it will be to let yourself miss a day.

Review your goal everyday. This is important. Think about what you want to accomplish. Also, ask yourself, “Am I really practicing or am I just moving my fingers and staring at the clock”. If you are just trying to get credit for the time, stop. You need to be working towards something. Whether it be a few clicks on the metronome, a blues progression, a solo or anything. It doesn’t matter you just have to have a goal.

Lastly when you decide you are going to commit to your goal, start right away. This is extremely important. Don’t say, “Tomorrow I will begin practicing 20 minutes a day”. Start now, because tomorrow can and will turn into the next day, then the next and soon the inspiration you have going and your commitment are gone. So start today! Best of luck with your practicing

Colin O’Brien is a guitar player, teacher and member of the ckoMusic family. He is the author of “Left Hand Red- Finger Exercises and Practice Techniques”, and creator of “Jam Band Jams” and “Hard Rock Band Jams”. Visit ckoMusic online for ideas on 20-minute practice programs to get you going and sign up for free online guitar lessons.

Copyright © 2007

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