There are times when practicing is a joy and everything falls into place, but there are also times we need to discipline ourselves to practice or we need the right motivation to start practicing in the first place. This is normal, we are only human beings. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
Once you’ve gone through a couple of solid guitar practice sessions you’re back in the saddle and you’ll feel the love and desire again to practice and improve yourself.
Today we’re going to give you the tools to make practicing enjoyable again when the going gets tough.
Let’s dive in!
1 – Reward yourself, set a fixed time
You’re a guitar player now so you need a fixed time to practice. Plan 30 or 60 minutes on your calendar (and don’t let anything undermine that). You don’t always have to plan a full hour, but if you can manage to do that once or twice a week you will really get into the groove.
Having set a fixed time means you have prioritised your practice and given yourself a chance to really enjoy playing your guitar. You deserve it. Don’t let the trivialities of life stand in the way. Reward yourself, you only live once!
2 – Get excited again
Why did you want to learn to play guitar in the first place? What is it that intrigued you about guitar playing? When did or do you love practicing the most? What song, solo, riff, guitar hero or dream goal makes you want to pick up your guitar? What can you do to make guitar playing exciting again? Find your spark in practice and implement it!
3 – Go to a private space.
Find a quiet space where you are in solitude. Ask your family and friends not to disturb you during your guitar workout. You need quiet and uninterrupted practice time to fully immerse yourself in your playing. You can also find quiet time in the early morning when everybody’s still asleep.
4 – Prepare
Prepare for practice. Choose your favourite song, riff or exercise you really want to learn. Print out the song on paper and put it on a music stand. Make sure you’ve good a good solid chair and a foot rest (if you need one). Get your guitar, capo, bottleneck, picks, strings and tuner all in place. A decent guitar is a must. If your guitar doesn’t sound, play and feel right, get yourself a great guitar that fits your needs.
5 – Restring your guitar
Put a fresh set of strings on your acoustic. The feel and the sound of new strings is a real delight and makes practicing even more enjoyable. Make sure you’ve tuned your guitar a couple of times up front, so you don’t need to tune your guitar every single minute during practice.
6 – Make it cosy
Create a practice space where you want really want to be and feel yourself at ease. Hang up pictures of your favourite guitar players, bands or put up a painting of a beautiful sunrise or a piece of art. Make sure you have enough natural light in the room to see and feel good, or go the other way and set a mood with dim lights and tea lights. Build your own inspiring environment to play in.
7 – Get yourself a treat
Make yourself a nice cappuccino, latte macchiato or a hot cup of green tea, rooibos tea or fresh mint tea with some nice biscuits to lift your spirit. Stay hydrated to fully function.
8 – Focus, but let go
Enjoy the practice to the utmost. Focus on the task at hand. Indulge yourself with beautiful chord sounds, essential strumming patterns, smooth fingerpicking patterns, awesome solos and blazing exercises and superb blues improvisation skills to expand and improve your playing. Allow yourself to surrender to the practice.
Let go of any expectations, limiting believes or telling yourself you can’t do it. Stop kidding yourself that you’re not good or fast enough, those destructive and silly thoughts don’t contribute and only hold you back. Let that sh#t go!
Accept the hurdles, obstacles and road blocks that are all a normal part of the process. Just focus, practice and enjoy the path you are on.
9 – Fuel your fire
Watch a good music documentary on Netflix (Foo Fighters, The Eagles, George Harrison, Keith Richards), read a good (auto)biography of your favourite artist/band or get a music/guitar magazine to get inspired and fuel your fire to practice even more.
10 – Exercise or Meditate
If you don’t feel like practicing because you lack energy or spirit, go for a short run. It will change your physiology. You will feel more energised, focused, uplifted and re-newed.
If you are worrisome or too stressed out to play, try Meditation. Meditation will calm the monkey mind and give you the focus you need to really benefit from your guitar practice. Guitar players really need to be fit. Your body and mindset are essential to enjoy your practice to the fullest, so work on it!
Now start taking the first step.
Have a great one!