Guitar Practice Motivation – You Can Do It!

Play Guitar Of Course!

Hey, they guitar playin’ friend! I thought I would take a break from the technical stuff to have a heart to heart. This post will be dedicated to helping you gain some Guitar Practice Motivation. It can (and often is) difficult to “convince” yourself to pick that guitar up, possibly plug it in and then proceed to play some stuff? That may sound easy, but to do it every day?

That takes something few people understand, Discipline! While the mere mention of this word may conjure up flashbacks of school or home shenanigans on your part, that isn’t the type we need here (probably not:) )

Honesty Time – Its Time To Make Your Policy

It Will Set You Free

In order to achieve a goal, you must have a plan (Like the A-team!) You must:

  • Have a clearly defined Goal (objective, desire, destination etc)
  • Have a rough plan to get you there (map)
  • Have smaller more manageable  goals (tasks) that add up to equal your main Goal

Cleary Defining A Goal – The Mountain

The Mountain Of GuitarThis is the reason you play the guitar! Whether it is to unwind (hehe), jam with friends, play in front of a crowd, gain musical knowledge, achieve mastery in a particular genre etc. This is where you will focus on you Main Goal, the trophy you hope to claim at the “end” of this particular goal quest.

Your Goal should be something realistic yet ambitious. You don’t want to aim to play your guitar on the Sun (not such a good idea currently), you could aim to play your guitar on the Moon or Mars (seems more realistic right?). The only limit is your imagination (and physics). Compared to these your goal doesn’t seem so crazy right?

No matter how far-fetched your goal seems, if you are unshakable in your pursuit, despite the certainty of difficulties which arise (life), you can do anything (almost anything) you set your mind to.  This Goal should benefit you and those around you, because pursuing something of true worth requires you to grow past your current limits.

This means as you chase your goal, you should notice yourself slowly changing into a better version of your self (or else the goal would be essentially meaningless)

General Plan- The Chunks

Manageable ChunksThis is your game plan, your map, your calendar and your timetable all in one. You have already selected a goal (GREAT!), but now what? Now you have to figure out how you are going to move from where you are now to where you want to be

This requires a detailed plan of everything you need to do generally to get to your goal. Assuming you actually want to play the Guitar on the Moon you would have to:

  • Know/learn how to play the guitar (or a few songs at least!)
  • Figure out how you are going to hear what you play- tricky one, perhaps a digital guitar?)
  • Find a way to get to the Moon (maybe hitch a Space-X ride?)

You can have as many steps as you need to end up at your goal. It is most likely that you will add more steps as you progress along your journey just try not to overwhelm yourself.

Slice It And Dice It – The Bites

BitesSplitting your General Plan, into smaller mini goals (bites) is a great way to avoid feeling overwhelmed. staring at a mountain you have to climb can be discouraging for most (some people really love it though). What you would probably do realistically, is to pick certain waypoints on that mountain.

So instead of climbing a mountain, you climb up this “little” face and that ‘little” structure and through persistence and discipline, you will find yourself having climbed many “little” distances that added up to get you up that mountain. These “bites” are the things you do daily.

The 30-minute practice you squeeze it between your hectic schedule, listening to songs and recognising the notes as well as how they mix together, “playing” around on your guitar etc)

That’s Nice, But How Do I Use It? – Apply As Needed

This advice can be carried over to any task practically, however for us we will look at a specific guitar related example. Let us say that your Main goal is to learn a song ( I know it seems a bit small but it works for the example) You would end up with the following example:

  1. Main Goal:
    1. To learn how to play a song.
  2. General Plan:
    1. Listen to the song
    2. Write a tab/ Find a tab
    3. Learn the chords/ notes
    4. Learn the timing/rhythm
    5. Practice the song
  3. The Bites:
    1. Listen to the song
      1. Find a version of the song that you like best
      2. Listen song focusing on notes/ chords
      3. Listen to song focusing on timing/rhythm
    2. Write a tab/ Find a tab
      1. Locate a tab / write your own
      2. verify the tabs accuracy by playing it slowly with the song as a reference
    3. Learn the chords/ notes
      1. Create a story to help you remember the chords
      2. Create a different story for the notes
      3. combine both stories into one
    4. Learn the timing/rhythm
      1. Listen to the song and clap to the rhythm
      2. mute the strings and pick or strum to the rhythm of the song
    5. Practice the song
      1. Use a metronome and play the song at a quarter of its actual speed focusing on quality and clarity
      2. Set the metronome to 1/2 the original speed, focusing on clarity and quality of notes and chords
      3. Set the metronome to actual speed and play focusing on quality and clarity of notes and chords

To Fish Or Not To Fish, That Is The Question – Your Choice!

Jam SessionThe concepts here are not earth-shattering. They are simple, yet most people you meet will never do them. Taking the time to do the “small” things may seem insignificant today or even a week from now, however when things get difficult being able to look back in time to a dream you detailed for yourself is a sure fire way to strengthen your resolve.

When you forget why you are doing something, being able to take out a piece of paper (or electronic document) a be the difference between success and failure. If you set your mind to a task and never give up until you have achieved your goal there is no way to fail. I have now taught you how to fish (metaphorically) so you should have the tools you need to have

fish for life, yes? Great, in that case, my work here is done.

Until our paths cross again!

 

 

 

 

 

4 Replies to “Guitar Practice Motivation – You Can Do It!”

  1. You know, I never really thought about planning goals when it comes to learning musical instruments especially when it comes to guitars, but that makes sense. You have to decide what you’re playing it for and how you’re going to get there. A member at my church recently purchased a guitar and wants to become good at it because he wants to one day be part of the music group there. This article would be perfect for him as it’s pretty much an outline on what to do in order to get to that point. Is this something you’ve always followed when you first started playing the guitar or something you learned along the way?

    1. Hey Brian, thanks for the comment! I am glad this article was useful to you. I think its great that your fiend already has an end goal in site (to serve at Church). That is one of my guitar goals too! I strongly believe that music is one of the purest languages available to us and using your talent to serve others is a true gift.

      Like a lot of people (I suspect) I was actually quite directionless. Just learning things sporadically and intermittently. One day I decided to lay out some goals for my guitar playing to give myself some structure. This lesson on goal planning is present virtually everywhere on the net.

      It wasn’t until I applied it that I really understood how useful and vital it is. Practicing everyday is not easy (even if you love it) there are hard days, lazy days, rushed days etc. Having the ability to see where you are in your journey is far more tangible than guessing how much you have progressed.

      So to answer your question, I suppose this is something I learned (the hard way) along the way 🙂

  2. I have been trying to play the guitar for years now, but I guess it’s just not in my DNA.  As I was reading over this webpage, I found several of the places where I am having the most difficulty in my learning,  But, you have inspired me to give it another try.  This time I think I will take your advice and make a plan fist, with smaller goals on it.  This way I won’t be defeated so quickly, and might actually get the hang of it.  Thanks for the knowledge…   Clay 

    1. Thanks for the comment, Clay! I am stoked to hear that I inspired you to try again. That is life right? You don’t give up on walking because you fall a few times, or stop talking because you make a few errors. That is the human spirit, stubborn, unyielding in the face of adversity or challenge.

      Those “small” goals, definitely add up, trust me! They are so powerful because the “small” victories can build you up as opposed to trying to learn classical guitar in a day and then quitting because you’re a failure! Your goal can be as simple as picking up your guitar in the morning, and getting it in tune!

      Seems crazy right? Well I can guarantee you that after a while, every fiber of your being will be screaming at you to play something! (like trying to tell a child to stand still:)). Slowly let your curiosity and passion drive you to play (rather than enforcing strict rules upon yourself from the get go)

      Once you start to really enjoy yourself you will have to become more disciplined to stop yourself from playing too much (if there is such a thing)! Creating a solid structure will allow you to get your daily goals accomplished and then one day when you pick up your guitar and let your fingers loose, you will be astounded at what those “small”

      goals added up to create!

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