Sunday, January 19, 2014

The 3 Steps To Getting Motivated About Guitar Practice

Most guitar students have good intentions when starting out but over time the motivation tends to fade but why don't we just stay motivated? We still love music and we still want to play but our motivation for practice tends to wane over time. I wanted to understand this question so many years ago I began to explore the reasons and what I found was very interesting because the answer was obvious yet most people are unaware or don't do anything about it and the result is they quit. This is especially true of guitar students.

The main reason we lose motivation

What I found was the initial inspiration for learning guitar was no longer present so as a result the interest in practicing guitar fades. For example you may have gone to a concert, purchased an inspiring album or were inspired by a friend. As these inspirational events or people disappeared so does the  interest in practicing guitar.

The chocolate cake

Think of passion for anything in terms of food. What if I offered you a delicious piece of the best tasting chocolate cake ever. What if I put it right in front of you. 10 seconds before that moment you probably had no desire for chocolate cake. Now your mouth is watering and you simply can't resist. This is how motivation works. If the events that created a burning desire to learn guitar are removed  your motivation to practice will also disappeared. We are largely motivated by what is in front of us.

So what is the solution?

Think about daily tasks you take for granted like taking a shower each day, brushing your teeth or commuting to school or work. Overtime these tasks become automatic and we are almost like robots not even realising we do them.  Guitar practice initially begins as mostly a choice but if you stick with it for a few months it will soon become a habit. By the way I am not proposing that your guitar practice becomes a robotic daily chore. Your practice should always be mindful and deliberate but the routine of sitting down and practicing each day needs to become automatic.

3 steps to getting motivated 

If you go through the motions of inspiring yourself like the daily shower you will want to practice and your practice will be inspired practice. The best kind. But how? Give yourself a few months to condition your new behavior but to make sure you get through this phase you need to stay motivated. Here is an example of how to stay motivated. Do the following prior to your practice each day;
  1. Listen to at least 3 of your all time favorite guitar tracks.
  2. While listening close your eyes and imagine you are the guitarist and its you playing on stage in front of an appreciative audience.
  3. Now think about the fact that your fans are relying on you to deliver. Each night you have to practice at least 30 minutes to ensure your performance goes smoothly. If you miss your practice you will need to cancel the concert. The band and your fans depend on you.

Do this visualisation exercise everyday for a month and I can almost assure you that you will soon find yourself motivated to practice daily. Remember to focus on the motivation first and the inspired practice will follow. After all it was when you were inspired that you decided to take up guitar. The practice should be driven by inspiration and inspiration begins with your imagination. Nothing great ever comes from the uninspired or unimaginative.

 You might also like the following blog:

Would You Like A Structured Method For Learning Guitar?

 5 week Structured Beginner Guitar Course
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Successful guitar students EXPECT to FAIL...

But hang on a minute. Aren't successful people positive thinkers? Weren't we told that about self fulfilling prophecies where if you expect to fail you probably will? Well it turns out that a sign of a successful person is someone who is actually expecting to fail. They don't want to fail and its not a self fulfilling prophecy but rather a 'what if something goes wrong' plan. Would you prefer a pilot who is trained and prepared for disasters or a pilot who optimistically expects nothing to go wrong? 

Failure is the rule not the exception

When we expect failure we are not surprise by it or unprepared for it. In terms if learning guitar its means that we are not going let a short term failure derail our plan to succeed on guitar long term. To help students I would ask a question like "What will you do say in 6 months when you feel frustrated due to perhaps perceived slow progress and want to quit?" Many students will respond by saying they won't  quit but I reply with "but what will you do if you really feel like quitting?" I persist with the question until I get an answer because I know almost every student will want to quit in their first year for one reason or another. If the student has a plan their chances of success rise dramatically. Do you have a plan?

You might also like the following blog post; 

Free 5 week  Beginner Guitar Course
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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are You Serious About Guitar? Take the 365 Day Challenge

"Don't be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin." - Grace Hansen

It's almost guaranteed that all guitar beginners no matter what their initial level of enthusiasm about practicing and learning guitar will want to quit at some point and if statistics play a roll its likely sooner rather than later. Fitness clubs understand this concept very well and its the reason they ask members to sign up for a 12 months rather than pay as you go. You may end up in the 1% but why take the risk. Why not instead plan for failure.

Planning to fail

Our statistics show that the longer you stick to consistent daily practice the less likely you are to eventually quit but it also gets harder to stick it out. For a while anyway. When you begin learning guitar you are in a positive motivated state so the best thing you can do is make a promise to yourself to commitment for at least 12 months. There will likely come a point where you say to yourself "Guitar was not as easy as I thought and its rather tedious actually. Life's too short to waste it plucking strings on a stupid guitar. Besides I still suck so why bother."  In some cases giving up is a gradual one but stick with me here as I have a plan for you.

A year from now

For most beginners who fail the promise to practice for the foreseeable future is their basic plan. Successful guitarists on the hand know they need to commit for the long term. Giving up is not an option. They know it will take time and yes they will suck at guitar for some time. Perhaps even a few years.  They know each practice session is about making small improvements not suddenly being the next Jimi Hendrix. It will be tough at times but committing to 365 days of practice is the key. This type of strategy helps you to remain patient knowing that at the end of the year you will have fulfilled your commitment and reached your goal in terms of practice.  Remember its not about how good you are. It's about staying committed for a full year. What's the point in making amazing progress in the first 3 months if you give up in the 4th month? The name of the game in the first year is to stay in the game and establish the habit of picking up the guitar daily.

The G4 GUITAR 365 Day Challenge - TAKE ACTION 

The absolute worst thing you can do now is not take action so here is your challenge. Print out a 365 day sheet from the G4 GUITAR Student Website Downloads page and cross off one number each time you do a full practice session. To work out how much to practice 13 years and over should do 30 minutes per day. Subtract 2 minutes per day for each year less than 13. E.g. A 10 year old would subtract 6 minutes doing 24 minutes per day and a 5 year old would subtract 16 minutes doing 14 minutes per day.

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