Creating a guitar practice schedule that works is one thing. Following what you have prescribed for yourself is something completely different.
Many guitarists don’t bother with creating a schedule for their guitar practice and that is perfectly ok, if they are satisfied with their progress.
But for me it wouldn’t work. I need to have some kind of plan which guides me towards my goals. Guitar practice schedule is a must for me.
The thing I love about keeping a practice schedule is that I don’t need to do decisions about what am I going to work on. A good schedule eliminates the number of decision that I need to make. And that keeps me sane. If you have to make many choices about mundane tasks, you will have hard time making good judgments about stuff that is crucial for your progress.
There are many reasons why we do not follow through with our plans. Some of those reasons are real, some of them are just products of our own minds. But whatever the reason is, the result is always the same. The stuff that we need to get done, won’t get done. And that could be a problem.
And since I have a lot of experience with procrastination and not sticking with my own guitar practice routine, I would like to share with you four tips, that have helped me to overcome the majority of my excuses.
4 tips how to stick with your guitar practice routine
Whatever you do, don’t try to change all your habits in one day. That is a sure way to end up in a massive frustration. You won’t become a great guitar player overnight same as you won’t become a superb athlete in one week.
Start small, you can always add more time or repetitions. The goal is to get you started, not to make you perfect. We want a practice schedule that is sustainable. I know it doesn’t sound fancy, but it works. Mastery is a by product of consistency (You’ve heard that one, right?).
Don’t break the chain
When famous comedian Jerry Seinfeld was asked to share some tips for young comic, he advised them to get a big calendar that has whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. Each day they would meet their goal of writing, they would put a big red X over the day. After few days a chain starts to form. From then on, the only task is to not break it.
Quite simple, right? The best solutions are usually not a rocket science. Seinfeld’s strategy is great because it takes off the pressure of making everything right. It is not important if you write a good song or a crappy song. What matters is that you write a song. Write one song everyday and I know for sure that one of them will be pretty damn good.
Focus on the process
Results are important, I know that. But what I didn’t grasp for a long time was that the best way how to get results fast is by focusing on the process. I need to remind myself of this truth quite often. Enjoy the process and the rest will take care of itself. Do not force what needs time. Learn to be patient.
Choose enjoyable practice material
Some players won’t stick with their practice routine because it is full of stuff that make them yawn. It is scientifically proven, that our brain won’t learn if something is boring. We need to create practice schedules that are appealing to us. No it won’t be all rainbows and sunshine, but from my own experience I know that great practice schedule has to have this magic power of pulling me out of the bed. If I don’t see the reason why should I do something, I won’t do it.
So instead of filling your schedule with tasks that bore you to death, find stuff that excites you. Maybe it is composing, maybe improvisation or jamming. Don’t put this things off just because you think you are not good enough yet. You are good enough. Music is a language so try to speak as much as you can.
In the end it is not about creating a perfect plan. The best plan is usually the one that you are going to stick with the most.
Image courtesy: Greg Gladman
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