Make Practicing the Guitar Fun
There’s one ugly truth about practicing guitar… it’s not always fun. In fact, sometimes it can be downright tedious. Obviously, you need to do it to get better, but sometimes the idea of sitting down and playing scales or working through a difficult song can be nothing short of torture. We have all been there and, luckily, there are ways to make practice both fun and productive. Check out these five tips for turning boring practice sessions into a rewarding and enjoyable part of your day.
Structure Your Sessions.
Okay, so the structure does not normally equal fun, but stay with me here.
Does This Sound Familiar?
You sit down to practice and waste time thinking about how you are going to organize your session instead of actually playing. By the time you actually get down to practice, you’ve got yourself jumping between warm-up exercises, songs, and improvisation, which isn’t the most productive way to go about things.
Planning Practice Sessions
Rather than planning practice sessions as you go or searching guitar playing videos on YouTube, why not set up a structure that works for you and then stick to it? The benefit here is that you can balance the things you have to do with the things you like to do.
For example, you may dread playing scales, so get those out of the way and then reward yourself with some time to improvise before you tackle that elusive Blues piece you have been trying to master. This is where a good guitar teacher can help you. For example, at Six String Studios, all of my students receive a practice log at the end of their lesson. Together, we discuss what it is they should be working on and for how long. The students then complete the log each time they practice, making notes on challenges or accomplishments they had during their practice times so that we can review them the following week. Guitar students at Six String Studios spend less time practicing and still see better results than with other guitar teachers.
Learn One New Thing
This is a great piece of advice that we hear from teachers over and over again. Challenge yourself to learn one new thing during your practice session. We are not suggesting that you sit down and learn a new song every day that an unrealistic. Rather, why not add a new scale to your repertoire, or explore some new strumming patterns? By adding variety, you are spicing up your practice and making it a more rewarding experience.
Choose the Right Time and Place:
Everyone has a time of day when they are most productive. Try scheduling your practice sessions when you are likely to feel relaxed, calm and ready to focus. For example, if you are not a morning person, it does not make sense to force yourself to sit down and play while you are still half-asleep. While this seems like a no-brainer, it really makes a huge difference. It’s impossible to enjoy a session you have to rush through, and who wants to feel like they’re cramming yet another obligation into their day?
On this same track, make sure you have a designated practice space that allows you to focus. Keep your guitar out, on a stand, in that space so you see it all of the time. This will not only remind you to practice but will mentally connect you to that space as your designated guitar-practice area. Also, be sure that your practice material is organized and easily accessible. I provide all of my students with a binder to keep their lesson notes in.
Give Yourself a Break:
Give yourself permission to skip a day every occasionally. We are not suggesting that you make a habit of blowing off practice but, sometimes, it helps to re-motivate you. A day off can be refreshing and can re-inspire you if you find yourself in a practice rut.
Seek out supplemental Material:
There are tons of online resources for guitarists and a wealth of videos that you can supplement your private guitar lessons with. I encourage and recommend products to my students that I have personally reviewed to give them yet another source that will supplement the techniques and concepts we are working on.
The simple fact that you have to practice does not mean that it cannot be fun. By choosing just one or two of these tips and implementing them into your practice sessions, you can shift the experience of practicing guitar from tedious to terrific.