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As a musician there are so many things that will distract you from making music. We get caught up in all the stuff we can use to enhance our music… or so we like to think.
A better guitar, a more powerful amp, more and more effects, the best sequencer, the latest plugins, always looking for updates and upgrades. I admit I’m guilty as charged. I always thought: “If I only could have that plugin, sequencer or this effect, life would be much better”. I’ve been there, done that, but I’ve come clean. I realized it took my eyes off the ball and I lost a lot of precious time because of it. Now I’m back to basics.
I focus on playing guitar. Practicing and writing. That’s my main goal. Why? Because I love it. I also try to be basic in my lifestyle. Although I’ve got stuff like everyone else, I get rid of the things I don’t need. When you go basic, you automatically create more time for your music and social life. The more basic you get, the more time you have left.
What do I do apart from practicing and writing?I teach guitar three days a week from home or anywhere I like. Besides that I practice, write, read, play in a band, record, run, meditate and spend time with my friends and family. Let me not forget to mention that I wake up at 5 AM to do all these great things but I don’t do all of them every single day. If you need some tips on how to wake up early, check out 15 Great Ways to Wake Up Early and How it Will Enrich Your Life.
Here are three steps to get more basic and thereby improve your guitar playing:
Less commitments is a good place to start with. All these things, beside from teaching (I do need to make a living of course) and playing in a band, are no commitments or obligations. Although I can’t really say teaching guitar feels like an obligation. It’s the greatest fun there is. It gives me a wonderful feeling to see progress in my students, their eagerness to learn and their inspiring enthusiasm. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. Let’s get back to what I am trying to say.
The less commitments you have, the more freedom you have to do what you want. So when you are not in for it today, you can leave it till tomorrow. Do things you want to do or need to do, but try not to make everyone depend on you every single minute of the day. I’m not saying you shouldn’t hang out with people anymore. On the contrary, but try to make it more spontaneous. Call a friend today to meet instead of planning it two weeks ahead.
Focus on your main goal
While I have many things I like to do, practicing and writing are my two main guitar habits. They are usually the first two things I do in the morning. I try to keep focused as much as I can without getting lost in all the external stuff. I also feel great when I’ve done these things first so I know I won’t postpone them. You know what happens when you procrastinate…
Not everybody can work on their goals first thing in the morning but make it a priority so it doesn’t just end up on your to-do list all the time. I always think of where I wanna be a year from now and what I will have to do in order to make that change come true. I don’t wanna be thinking: “O gosh, another year has gone by and I’ve done so many things, but none of them really made a difference”.
Set a goal for yourself! It doesn’t’ always have to be a big goal. Small goals are not to be underestimated. They can be really powerful too. For example: you only need one (hit) song that could change your life or make one right turn where everything starts to make sense for you.
I try to be as basic as I can. I’m still learning and growing though. This means I stopped concentrating on “stuff”; being materialistic. Although you need a guitar to play and create music, all the external stuff distracts you. It doesn’t make you a better guitar player: guitar playing does.
I stopped watching television. I don’t buy what I don’t need. I try to be creative with the things I have. I drink water instead of soda because it gives me the right boost of energy to get going when I feel tired. I sell stuff that I don’t use or distracts me from being an authentic person. I walk or relax to get inspired and I feel a lot happier because of it.
I’ve come to realize that the more basic I get, the more clearer things become, the more inspiration I get, the more time I got left, the better my guitar playing will get.