May 12, 2019 by Klaus Crow
A fresh new year is coming and is yours. A great time to set new goals, quit bad habits and becoming determined in what you want to achieve. Of course guitar playing, practicing and improving your musical skills is on top of your priority list. How could it be otherwise?
Guitar playing gives you peace of mind, stimulates the fingers and the brain, makes you and the listeners really happy people (provided that you practice) and attracts the opposite sex ;) Besides that, guitar playing is an amazing musical life time experience that will keep surprising you over and over again. A habit of regular practice will grow your excitement and make you want to keep improving and become a better player all the time.
Okay in theory that is all true, but in real life things are busy, messy and you are constantly distracted. So you need a plan that works and make 2017 a year where you get back to the game of solid guitar practice and real improvement. Let’s get this baby rolling!
Here are the keys:
– Create Room
Make more time available in the new year. Take out a notebook right now and create a not-to-do-list. Write down all the things that seem important but are really not. Be honest and ruthless here! Are you watching too much TV? Unplug your TV or put it in the basement for a few months. Spending too many minutes/hours on Facebook or Instagram? Delete your account or announce a sabbatical.
Are you doing things just to prove others that you are not a quitter, but deep down inside you know better? Listen to your heart, be true to yourself and stop doing the things that don’t feel good. A burden will fall of your shoulder. Write everything down that you need to reduce, stop, quit, disconnect, remove or eliminate. Now take the spacious room in time that will unfold before you and use it to play your guitar in 2017.
Write down what you desire. What is it that you want achieve with your guitar playing? Write it down. What is it specifically that you would like to learn. Write it down. What do you want to be able to play a year from now? Write it down. You know, things change, your musical preference changes or expands, your skills improve, and with that also your guitar goals will change. You might want to reevaluate your guitar goals. So write it down. You have to name it before you can claim it! Writing it down is the best way to do this.
– Find Your Favourites
Following up on what you desire, the next question sounds simple, but it’s the key to motivation. What’s your favourite song? Write down a list with your favourite songs and pick the one song that you really really want to learn, but which also meets your skill level. A guitar teacher can help you with this. If you really love a song that much, you won’t hesitate to start practicing and you won’t stop practicing until your fingers are worn out ;) Keep finding favourites to keep the flow going.
– Habit Buddy
Work together with a habit buddy (accountability buddy) to support you in making sure you meet your guitar goal commitments and develop the daily practice habit you long for. Find someone, maybe a good friend or partner who shares similar interests and who also likes someone to support their goals in return.
You can keep an eye on each other, keep each other engaged through the process, make sure you meet regularly, send an email or call your buddy to see if you’re still on track. Coach, motivate and inspire each other to accomplish your ultimate guitar goal.
– Goals and Tracking Apps
If you’re into apps then Coach.me, Way of Life and Habits list are great apps that trigger you to play every single day by tracking your practice schedule. It’s done by only click of the button. It sounds like just another thing to do, but for people who love apps, it absolutely works.
– Don’t Break The Chain Calendar
The “don’t break the chain calendar” is another great way to make sure you play every single day, even if only for five minutes. Use a year wall calendar and hang it on a prominent wall. For each day you practice cross off the day on the calendar. Soon you’ll have a visual chain that will grow longer every day, and that you don’t want to break. The trick does it!
It’s kind of similar to the Coach.me app technique, but the approach is slightly different and works better for people who are more paper minded. The wall calendar on a prominent wall is always there to remind you to practice. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? ;)
– Fuel Your Passion
Who are your favourite bands, singer songwriters and guitar players? Watch them on YouTube, study their masterclasses, interviews and (auto)biographies, buy a guitar magazine, go to a concert now and then to stay fuelled to practice.
– Your Personal Guitar teacher
Online guitar teachers can add a lot of value to your playing and can take you to places in your musical journey you otherwise would not have discovered, but with that, I also recommend a guitar teacher with who you can site face to face, who can point out your strengths and weaknesses, give you weekly guitar lessons and will keep you going when times get tough.
If you can’t afford one or you don’t have one in your area, subscribe to Guitarhabits in the upper right corner of the blog and I will keep you motivated and provide you with enough free quality guitar posts and lessons to keep you on track!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
This is amazing Klaus! really encouraging, even more when I’ll be spending next 4 years of mi life living abroad and need to keep my old friend Guitar with me. Thanks a lot for the content!
Klaus Crow says
Thanks. Having a guitar with you is a good idea while your abroad. It keeps you entertained and piece of mind when you need it.
Have a great new year!
wish you a happy new year :)
Klaus Crow says
Thanks. A wish you a happy and healthy new year filled with music!
Thank you for this post. I, for sure got benefit of that. Let me tell you what happened last night. I was practicing with my guitar in the room but in a moment I got frustrated and felt I’m not made for guitar playing. I went to living room to tell my wife I’m discouraged because I can’t do that. She tried to encourage me by telling I am giving up very quickly and I should practice consistently on a daily basis for progress. It was ok, I went back to my room and kept on practicing still feeling frustrated. A few minutes later my 3 year old daughter run into my room with a solid toy on her hand smashed it to my pretty Taylor guitar. The damage wasn’t serious but it was the first. It was only a tiny crack on the body but it added more sadness into my day. I put my guitar back into the case and decided to stop for the day. It was enough for one day.
But, today is a new day and now that I read your motivating post, here are my decisions:
1) I will keep on practicising, no matter what. 1 hour a day if possible, if not, as long as possible
2) I will change my guitar teacher. Because he doesn’t give me weekly exercises and I feel he does not add me anything
3) I will also apply a program to excel my bar chords and chord transitions before trying to play my favorite songs
4) I will accept my guitar with its little crack which is only as big as a pen touch on a paper:)
I’m already following your advices; got coach.me, printed out a 2017
Again Klaus, I thank you for your article I will keep reading your posts to get more motivation.
Best wishes from Istanbul
Klaus Crow says
Discouragement and frustrating is part of learning a skill. It means you’re challenging yourself and “challenge” means “growth”. I always tell my students they just have to ignore the emotion of frustrating, just focus on your playing, feel patience and love for your practice. Just take small steps and always start slow. Once you feel comfortable playing it slow, gradually increase your speed or take the next small step. It’s all about repetition.
Don’t sweat about that crack in your guitar. It’s part of the deal :) My first daughter also did the exact same thing to my pretty expensive Santa Cruz guitar. See it as your daughter’s autograph. It gives your guitar character and it makes it look alive. Once the first crack is there, the next one gets easier. My guitars are all beat up and I love it, in the end it’s all about what you get out of the guitar and not how clean it looks. Cracks are pretty. :)
I wish you all the best for 2017, and enjoy the challenge of practicing.