By Piotr Sierzputowski
Imagine a situation like this:
All week long you have been trying to play the guitar… still you find it very hard to do because of work/shool, home, family, a lot of stuff that need to be done etc. Finally you manage to get 2-3 hours of free time. You pick your guitar …. and you don’t know what to to do. You start playing same thing as always – your favourite riffs or licks… but you keep wondering if this is really the best thing you can do at the moment. Then you get an idea: „I’m going to write something new!‘ and you’re bending over backwards trying to make the greatest song of all time. It’s not happening of course and even if you get to write something, you don’t like it at all…
Does this sound familiar? If so, please read this short article where I will tell you how to:
- Find more time to practice guitar (or any other instrument)
- Use you practicing time efficiently and actually learn something new every time you grab your guitar
HOW TO FIND THE TIME FOR PLAYING THE GUITAR?
Since we’re lacking supernatural abilities, we have no controll over time at all. Time just flies. Good news is, everybody has exactly the same amount of it – 24 hours.
Even better news is that there is something we have unlimited control over and that is our choices. Everybody decides how they spend their time. Take a note of this – you’ll find it useful in the next parts of the article.
The next golden rule of how to effectively manage your time is:
Always Do The Most Important Things First
Not the most urgent – the most important.
Now let’s join these two rules together and use them to find more time for playing the guitar. Please answer a few questions now:
- How important is playing the guitar for you?
- Is it more important than your job, school, family?
- Is it maybe more important than watching tv, browsing facebook, drinking beer with friends etc? (DISCLAIMER: I am not suggesting you’ve got to completely get rid of those things from your schedule… keep reading 😉 )
- If playing the guitar is more important for you than, for instance, a couple of beers with your friends, do you think you could be late an hour or two for the meeting and play the guitar before you leave?
- Before you start browsing facebook after you come back home from work, do you think you could play for 20-40 minutes?
- Do you see where I’m going?
The point of the above questions is for you to realise that your musical passion is important for you, because it gives you more joy in life.
Pay attention to all the little things you do instead of playing the guitar.
In those moments, man up and stick to the two two rules mentioned above to do the most important stuff (important for YOU) first. Make a decision that you will be practicing the guitar every morning, or right after coming back from work, before you get on to do something else. Such decision could save you from drowning in your responsibilities and frustration of not having of not having enough time for playing the guitar.
Caution! If you’re thinking „this won’t work, my situation is way more difficult…“ then keep reading. I wrote a special paragraph for you at the end of this article.;)
WHAT TO PRACTICE WHEN YOU FINALLY FIND SOME TIME FOR PLAYING THE GUITAR?
When you finally find some time for playing the guitar in your overloaded schedule, the last thing you want to do is to waste it… which may actually happen if you don’t know what you need to do at the time.
I will not give you any specific exercises or tasks because I don’t know if it’s going to be any good for you, since I don’t know you at all. I don’t know what are your skills or what you want to learn.
Instead, I will tell you how to find the right exercises on your own in an easy way. My advice is:
MAKE A GOAL FOR YOURSELF
Make a specific goal for the next week. This could be learning a new song, or mastering a complicated piece of music… It could be practicing a specific technique, writing a song,… anything. What is important is that the goal is YOURS.
… well, maybe not only that is important.
It is also important that the goal of yours is specific. If you’re going to practice a technique, it would be good to know how you are going to practice this technique. If you want to learn a new song, it is a good idea to think what steps you need to take in order to achieve it.
The more specific the goal is, the more details of how you will achieve it you can imagine, the more effectively you will use your time… certainly you will not waste it thinking „what should I play today…?“.
DO NOT BE A PERFECTIONIST!
Why not? Perfectionsm is cool! Perfectionists do things ideally! Right?
A perfectionist is a man who is never happy, who always complains… and maybe they sometimes do something good… but most of the time they will spend bitching that nothing is what it should be
Practising guitar does not need to involve visiting your rehearsal room, heating up your amp, carefull dialing in your tone etc. All you need for practicing your guitar is a… guitar. There are also plenty of ways to develop your musical passion away from the instrument, but that is a topic for another article.
So, whenever you have 20-30 minutes, a guitar, and at least 2 square metres of space – you’ve got the conditions to pracice guitar.
I used to have a student who just had a second child. Except from being a perfect dad and husband, his goal was to release a solo album (I hope this is still the case). As you can imagine, he did not have a whole lot of time with two kids. Whenever he got 15 or 20 minutes free, he would pick his guitar, close himself in the bathroom and record his ideas on the phone.
It doesn’t require a lot to grow such a relentlessness. All you need to do is to realise that you have influence on your choices and say: “I do not agree to not having time for developing my passion!“.
Then you’ll find the solutions. If you want them bad enough, you will always find them.
There are many ways to get better results when practicing guitar a in a shorter amount of time. The ones that I presented to you in this short article are the most basic and easiest to implement. Apply them, and your playing will start going forward:
- Think about how important the guitar is for you,
- Identify things that are less important,
- Plan your time for playing guitar before you start doing all of those less important things,
- Set a specific goal that you want to achieve during the next week
- Think about the steps required to achieve this goal,
- Work on this goal during your practicing time.
Piotr is a guitar teacher in Ostroleka (Poland). If you found this article interesting or you have questions for Piotr, you can reach him at Piotr@LekcjeGitaryOstroleka.pl or visit his webiste: www.LekcjeGitaryOstroleka.pl