January 14, 2023 by Klaus Crow
You want to read this post.
So, what new guitar challenge(s) are you going to commit to in the year ahead? What fresh guitar routine are you going to follow and what are you going to do to make it really work and last?
Creating good solid guitar habits is a challenge in itself. First of all, you have to ask yourself the important questions and providing them with hard and truthful answers in writing:
- Do you really want to become a better guitar player or is it just a nice idea?
- WHY do you want to become a better guitar player? Two good reasons please!
- Do you want to put in the work to become a better guitar player? or just really not?
Once you’ve answered these questions you want to ask the follow up questions:
- What is it that you want to get good or better at?
- What gives you the most satisfaction and reward?
- What could you really do to become a better guitar player?
- How could you create a habit that works and sticks?
With the last question I can help you with. Read on!
Create a guitar habit that is easy to stick to
One of the challenges of sticking to a solid guitar habit is overcoming the thinking mind. Your mind will grab any excuse not to practice and will say things like “I don’t have time” or “I don’t feel like practicing now”. The most stupid excuses ever.
So what if you’d only practice for five minutes? Yes, five minutes is the golden rule for overcoming your lazy mind and to get you started. It’s all about getting started, the rest will play out by itself. Five minutes is easy and anyone can do that.
If you stick to five minutes that is great, if you practice more that is great too. Initially it’s about building the habit.
More often than not you will be playing more than five minutes, that is a bit of the key, but don’t tell your brain. Either way it’s all good. If you do play just five minutes you have won the day and you’re on the path of creating a good habit.
Fun and accountability with fellow musicians
A perfect way to make sure you keep showing up to your practice session is creating a Whatsapp group, or Facebook group with fellow musicians and daily checkmark your progress. Encourage and remind each other to practice guitar. Accountability is a strong tool in creating a solid habit.
I created a whatsapp group with musician friends and we checkmark our practice everyday. Every time I check my whatsapp I see someone who has already practiced before me and know there’s work to do. It’s fun and it keeps me on track. It feels great to support the group and at the same time I’m supporting my own guitar journey. We just copy/paste the names and marks and add our own checkmark after each practice.
Practice what makes you feel alive
Now write down three things that would get you excited to practice. What would be really fun and enjoyable to learn? What makes you tick and what kind of music makes you come alive? What would be a great guitar goal to achieve this year? What songs, musical knowledge or skills would get you to the next level and feel good about yourself? How would that feel at the end of this year?
Think about it, ponder on it, write it down and make a plan of action. Writing down is a really strong vehicle to getting things out of your head and into the real world. Writing things down creates momentum and makes you want to take action. Start taking this first small but big important step.
Create the perfect guitar environment
You also want to set up your place in a way that makes the practice fun, alluring, easy to start with and always in clear sight drawing your full attention. Clear out any damn obstacles that prevent you from practicing. Think of ways to accomplish this.
Some great examples:
- Set up a private place that is yours to practice.
- Put your guitars in the perfect spot looking nice and shiny with a set of fresh strings.
- Have your lesson material all set and ready.
- Make sure you can practice without bothering anyone or being bothered.
- Clear all distractions like phones, tablets, computers and TV.
- Put a calendar on the toilet wall and checkmark your practice.
Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress keeps you going. Write down what you’ve learned today and write down what you’re going to learn the next day. It will only take 2 minutes, but you can check your progress and you know where you are heading.
You can follow your perfect plan and you won’t be practicing aimlessly. Review your progress every week. Are you still on track and heading towards your ultimate goal? Revise your practice plan accordingly, make it better and more solid each time.
You need to fuel to burn. Stay inspired to become a better guitar player. Go to a gig once in a while, see your favorite artists or support your local bands. Watch great guitar players and bands on Youtube. Read autobiographies or music magazines. It’s all great fuel.
And last but not least, play regularly with other musicians or start your own band. It’s fun and both are super good ways to learn new things, improve your game and stay eager to practice. Fun is the big motivator!
Now you can do two things: Click this post away, read or watch something else and forget all about what you just read in two seconds or make a change and start creating a good guitar habit that will make you become a better guitar player in the year ahead. You decide.👊
Michael Grabowski says
All excellent advice. I already do a couple of things on your list. I have a daily reminder on my Alexa device that reminds me it’s time to practice. I have three devices plus my phone that it verbally reminds me, so that no matter where I am in the house I get the reminder, but then so does my wife. She is a great supporter of my guitar journey so she makes sure I don’t skip my practice. I also talk to my ex brother in law at least once a week. He is an accomplished guitar player and we share a lot of music theory with one another. I’ve yet to play with another musician, but I did meet another guitar player down the street and he is willing to play together as soon as I feel I know enough to give it a go. He of course told me not to worry about it and that I should start playing with him and others, but insecurities and all. You know.
Klaus Crow says
It sounds like you’re really doing a good job sticking to your practice.
Make sure you also going somewhere with your playing (create a plan and track your progress) or you’ll wind up anywhere,
which is also perfectly fine if that suits you.
Regarding to the guitar player down the street, gather your courage and jam with the guy.
Be willing to be vulnerable, honest and ready to learn and you won’t regret it.
Jamming is the holy grail.
Let me know how it went.
Hi and thanks for another reminder! My problem is that I am trying to learn two instruments, guitar and organ. I realize just working on one would speed up the process, but it’s so hard to decide between them. I love every minute of it, so 5 minutes always turns out to an hour at least. I have no prospects of jamming with others at the moment, but I use a little metronome to keep me on track. For guitar, I am working on barre chords. I read all your posts and save your lessons for when I can follow them, but I have to kind of go with the flow with family and work for now.
Klaus Crow says
Hi Inger, I feel you.
You definitely don’t have to choose between instruments.
Absolutely go with both if you love it.
Maybe you would make more progress focusing on one instrument but remains to be seen.
Also learning two instruments can really support and benefit each other.
You wouldn’t necessarily see that now practicing your bar chords, but knowing music theory
and your experience with harmony, melody and rhythm with the organ really gives you an advantage on the guitar
and other way around.
Besides that, it’s just you’re a musician that loves playing music. There are no rules for that.
I also practice drumming even though I’m just a beginner but it’s also nice to take a break from guitar
when my fingers had enough of a workout.
Regarding to playing with musicians, if there’s no prospect of jamming with musicians as you say,
you can also play along with backing tracks and jam tracks which is fun and really good for you.
The metronome is great for keeping tempo, but the jam tracks will give you more of a feel of how it
is to play with other musicians.
You’re doing great Inger!
Klaus, I lost my guitar teacher…she was ill and hasn’t come back. I tried another teacher but he was too expensive. I can’t afford to pay the fee weekly. Over time I practice less and less. I would like to play with other people but have gotten slow and clumsy changing chords. I will go to a guitar shop to see if the teacher will do a monthly lesson. Do you have any inspiring words.