Many guitar players often struggle with finding the time or feel the need to be inspired in order to practice their instrument. Sure, there are days when we are all inspired to pick up our guitars and play. How about the other days?
Welcome to 10 Ways To Boost Your Practice Session
1) Remember that starting to practice your guitar is similar to starting a car. It takes the most battery juice and power in order to actually start a car. Starting your practice session is no different. Once you pick up your guitar and get going, you will be amazed how quickly sometimes the time flies.
2) When the inspiration strikes to pick it up and play – do not delay. Or, keep the thought in your mind until you can actually grab a guitar. The universe sends us these little inspirational hints and the best results happen when we follow them right away.
3) Organize your practice area. I keep my studio (where I also practice) clean and organized. Whenever I walk into it – everything is in its right place. It is simply a lot less stressful and more pleasant to be in. It hardly takes me more than a few minutes to find any piece of gear, a book or anything that I might be looking for. I can not get anything done otherwise. It is hard for me to be in any place that is not organized. We process millions of thoughts in our heads without even being aware of them, so although it might seem that some things (or the way your practice area looks) “do not bother you”, you would be amazed what happens when things are right. There are reasons why hotel rooms are clean and neat when you enter them. How would you feel if you walked into a messy hotel room? How do you feel when you walk into your practice room?
4) Revamp your practice area. Look around your walls and see what no longer feels right to you. Do some pictures seem outdated, does some furniture or CDs you might have no longer represent you? I often re-arrange pictures, furniture to make the space look different. It energizes your mind.
5) It is important to remember what you are practicing for. It is a lot easier to get to playing if you know why you are doing it. It can be as simple as – I just want to play for an hour so my technique is maintained, or today I will write a new song, today I will learn a new guitar solo, I will come up with 5 new guitar licks, I will work on vibrato, etc.
6) Say GO! Yep, coming out of the I should practice to I am now practicing zone can simply be walked through by saying GO to let you know that you have officially started to practice. If you want to practice for an hour today – you know when it begins. It also helps to saying it out loud and sometimes practicing takes a new meaning then.
7) Our guitars work in a funny way. Truth is that we do not need to play 8 hours a day to get better. To be the fastest in the world? Well if that’s your thing, then yes. But, to be better? No. As I have mentioned in one of my Guitar World “Metal For Life” columns, you can maintain your playing proficiency by playing anything fast for an hour a day. These can be solos, repeating a lick over and over, fast rhythms. Just remember to keep it going for an hour.
BREAKING THE BARRIER
Sometimes you will get a free gift – what I call Breaking The Barrier. What happens is that you keep playing, playing and pick it up next day and day after that. And, all of the sudden one day – you are executing things with incredible ease. Its almost as if you cut off some chains that were holding you down. You have clearly surpassed where you were few days ago. Take notice of that. This means that you have made enough progress to clearly notice it.
8) There are no plateaus. I hear guitarists tell me that they have reached a plateau. And, technically generally speaking to guitarists worldwide – there are no plateaus in guitar playing. If you are not getting better, faster, smoother – you are getting worse. Sorry, its that simple. Of course, you can do the hour of maintenance every day to keep your technical proficiency … but many guitar players that I know, do not. They either play or do not. And, although we are mostly referring to technical ability here, the same could apply to more ‘inspirational’ side such as writing songs or riffs. You get better at writing songs, creating riffs or writing guitar solos when you do them often – which again, brings us back to practicing doing these tasks.
9) Sometimes in order to get practicing you have to reach for some serious power tools. These can include listening to the CDs that love, or watching You Tube videos of your favorite bands. Remembering what made you love the guitar in the first place will very often get you back on track.
10) Find a practice buddy and say get together with them after school, work or even just the weekends. You want to look for some sort of a routine. A practice friend will not only help, but also inspire you – especially if they seem to be getting really good at something. You want to look for some sort of a routine. Remember that inspirations fade, but routine keep things going.
Last, I will leave you with a quote from Muhammad Ali:
“I hated every minute of training, but said, don’t quit, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”