Real Guitar Adventure for Grownups

Tips To Get And Stay Motivated To Practice Guitar

in Learn to Play Guitar | 0 comments

Sometimes it seems like you have to practice 24/7 to get good at guitar but if you're anything like me sometimes you just don't feel motivated to practice.  I want to share with you some of the things that really helped me over the years. Now this list is by no means exclusive in fact I'd really like to have you share in the comments some of your ideas and maybe some things that helped you to stay motivated and to share it with the community as well. But this is what I have for you right now. It's the best of what I've come up with. 

My #1 has been to create short-term goals for myself. Now I'm not talking big lofty goals. I'm talking things that you can accomplish within a few weeks at most maybe 30 days. So I think to myself I want to make it specific, measurable and then specific period of time. I'll say time-bounded. 

For example, I might wanna set a goal of having this exercise up to a certain speed I'll pick a particular exercise. Now I'm going to measure it by using a metronome so I'll start and see where I'm at. I'll create a chart so that for a period of 2 weeks I'm starting here and I want to get to here. Now I'll track my progress on the chart a little bit each day. That makes it fun. I'm motivated to see if I can push it past a chart. It doesn't always work but if I didn't get one day I know the next day I'll probably get it back to where it was or a little beyond. It's fun. It motivates me. 

Another example is I set a goal of uploading a certain song or exercise to YouTube. So I'll get myself 3 weeks let's say. And then I'll want to practice because I know in the 3 weeks come I'll give it my best shot. Again that motivates me to sit down and spend time at it. One of my yearly goals is I set a 30-day challenge. What I do is I put up a little chart on my wall and for 30 days I make sure I practice every single day for 30 days. So the fun for me even if I practice for 10 to 15 minutes is to check off that day that I did it. And the thing is I set myself a rule that if I don't complete 3 days I have to start over. I don't want to start over so I usually complete the 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, not only have I gotten better at guitar but I've got this habit of practicing that makes it easier to get into it. Those are just some ideas I'm sure you can come up with a bunch more and I look forward to seeing them. 

​There is no way you're gonna get out of the ups and downs of learning something new ...

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Number 2, is I make a schedule to practice and I set amount of time I'm gonna do as a minimum, usually sure like 10  to 15 minutes. Doing that makes sure I have scheduled in time to practice. I have a busy schedule but it's a little bit tricky because I know if I can get 10 minutes in I'm probably gonna do a little bit more. But if I think "Oh, I've got to do an hour", I keep pushing it around and you often don't get to it. So 10 minutes works for me because it often turns into 20 minutes, 30 minutes, sometimes even an hour or so and it's fun I get into something. I find something I didn't think of. 

Number 3, try something new. That might be a new song for you or a new exercise. What I like to do is add something new every week to my practice routine just to keep things fresh and alive. One of the things that I find fun is to make a short jam track using just a couple of chords and then for that week improvise with it. Learn a scale or a few licks and just play around with it. Sometimes I'll just pick out notes by ear and see what sounds good. Then the next week I'll start again. I'll make a new jam track with just two chords usually. 

Number 4 is take some lessons. They could be private lessons with the teacher. Maybe you learn some new techniques or if you're in the beginning stages get some structure. And I highly recommend an online program something step-by-step so that you know exactly what to build on. It's motivating to know  that what you're working on leads to something else into something else. When you don't have lessons sometime it's hard to see where some things are going.

Number 5 watch an inspirational movie. Now I'm kind of sentimental. It doesn't take too much to get me inspired that way. One of the movies that I could inspired me was Bohemian Rhapsody. It just somehow seeing the guitar players and where they started,  what they went through. Make me feel like I want to keep doing it. Now I'll put a caution there too. When you just watch other guitar players there is that risk of getting a little overwhelmed and feeling like you can never get anywhere close to that. But you know that's part of learning a new skill. You have to deal with feelings of inadequacy,  that's a complicated word. Anyway, learn to just let it go and move on. I've heard the movie Crossroads is an inspirational movie. I don't watch it yet but I put it on my list to get to it. I think I might watch part of it tonight. And I'd love to hear from you some movies that you found inspirational. What I'm looking for things that people have overcome obstacles or they kept going in spite of difficulties or they've just done something really good and they're excellent and that tends to inspire me  also. 

Now some final words of wisdom and I know this might sound a little bit counter intuitive but it comes from years of experience. There is no way you're gonna get out of the ups and downs of learning something new and with that comes feelings of "Wow! I just don't feel like doing it anymore" this is normal and in my earlier years I thought something was wrong with me. I even criticized myself. I can tell you that doesn't help, in fact I want to encourage you to just experience the highs and lows of your guitar-playing journey and don't let it get you into a guilt mode or feeling like you shouldn't feel that way. In fact there are times to take time off, take a break. Sometimes that means just go for a 10 to 15 minute walk and then come back at it. Sometimes it means taking several days off. Now I know that might sound like it's going against what I've already told you but it's not. I'm talking to strategically take a break once in a while not every other day or something like that. 

Doing this combined with a regular practice routine and setting some short term goals can be just the thing to give you a boost. And if you come back at it invigorated, you'll be a better guitar player for it and the world will be a better place. Well that's it for me today. 

Just watching this video, you've taken another step in your guitar playing journey and I congratulate you. Good job and thanks for being a part of my community. Please share any ideas or any things that you've found to be helpful to keep you motivated and especially let me know any good motivational movie that both I and the community can use to help us keep us going. Bye for now.

Tomas Michaud

Author - Tomas Michaud at Real Guitar Success
Tomas Michaud is an American born guitarist and music educator with a French Canadian heritage. He first developed the Starland Guitar System in 1982 when his 9 year old daughter asked him to teach her guitar. Since then he’s founded the Starland School of Music in the SF Bay Area, and RealguitarSuccess.com.

When he's not making guitar instruction videos or creating more music to record (currently 7 CDs including Beauty and Fire) he's riding his bike along the beach with his dog Marco Polo or traveling to interesting places with his lovely wife Pui.
Tomas Michaud

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