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For a lot of people playing and practicing guitar is a luxury that they almost can’t afford timewise. The busy schedule of work, school, parenting, homework and errands get in the way big time. It can all be too overwhelming.
Still, we don’t want to forget ourselves and our passions. You know, you only live once and what is a life without music and guitar playing? I mean guitar playing enriches our souls and enhances our lives. It’s one of the essentials of our existence.
Yet it can be on the edge of extinction if you’re not careful and don’t take matters into your own hands. So if you feel like you’re losing control over your schedule and struggle to keep all the plates spinning in your life, but don’t want to give up practicing and improving, then here are the keys to keep rocking the place:
1 – Take two minutes
Take two minutes of your precious time, sit down and think. What is your biggest guitar priority? Choose only one thing to practice that will improve your playing and give you a great sense of fulfillment. Write it down!
Now to stop feeling overwhelmed by your busy schedule write down all the important tasks for the week that you really need to get done. Decide which tasks are worth getting stressed over. Choose the three most important things that you need to take care off and lose the rest. Now add your guitar goal to the list and make it your Top4MIT (Top 4 Most Important Tasks).
2 – Break it down
Chunk your one guitar goal down into five small achievable steps. Write them down! For instance, if you want to learn a song, how do you break it down? Step 1: Learn one or two chords. Step 2: Learn the next two chords. Step 3: Learn to change between chords. Step 4: Learn the strumming pattern. Step 5: Learn to combine strumming and chord changes.
How do you break down an improvisation workout? Step 1: Learn the chord progression. Step 2: Record the chord progression. Step 3: Learn and memorize the scale(s) for the chord progression. Step 4: Put on your self made jam track and create a simple melody on the spot with your scale. Step 5: Incorporate a cool lick or idea into your instant melody composition, then let go what you have learned and improvise slowly with heart, feel and space.
3 – Prepare
Just the thought of practicing can be too much when your head is occupied with urgent matters. Preparation is the key here, even when you’re only have to practice for five minutes. Print out your one music sheet with the song, scale and chords on it. Put your guitar in a stand and your music sheet on the table so they are both clearly in sight and inescapable.
Schedule a practice time and make sure nothing will get in the way. Think about a moment when you can spare 5, 10 or 20 minutes. Maybe the best time is early in the morning when everyone is still asleep. If you are worried about making too much noise then play softly or unplug your electric guitar. You can also practice late in the evening when your family has just gone off to bed.
4 – Set a timer
Set a timer on your watch, cell phone or Ipad for 5, 10 or 20 minutes. The timer will make sure you won’t waste any of your precious time and will automatically make your practice session more effectively. You will make the most out of your 10 or 15 minutes, because that’s all you’ve got!
5 – Take the one small step
Now take the first of your five small steps towards your most important guitar goal. Go to a quiet place and make sure you are not disturbed. Close curtains or blinds or sit with your back turned to the window. Turn off all your internet devices. Sit down, set the timer and practice with heart and soul.
Fully focus on your playing and concentrate on all aspects. Don’t just ramble, but practice what you need to be practicing. Observe your playing in detail. Watch your hands, fingers and fingertips. Look for mistakes and listen carefully to your playing. Do you hear any unusual sounds? Does it feel and sound good? Play your strings one by one and check if all strings ring clearly. Visualize what you want to see and hear in your playing. Keep at it with a positive attitude and improvement will definitely come.
Before you’re off to something else, take a piece of paper and write down your TOP4MIT. This is your first small step to get guitar playing back into your routine. The rest will follow. Do it now!
Have a great day!