I know many people that feel like it’s impossible to find the time to continue practicing guitar throughout the summer at the same level they were throughout the winter months. For guitarists, the winter can be a time where it’s really easy to grab a guitar and hang out inside practicing for hours (especially in Canada). When the summer rolls around, however, we all find ourselves doing other activities and it may feel like the guitar is taking a backseat to everything else. A common response to this by many of us is to just give in and not think too much about it. Some of us stop working as hard, slow down on practicing, and maybe even just stop playing entirely. The following tips are meant to provide inspiration and ideas for you to keep up your practice routine throughout the summer so that you don’t get left behind in the fall.
Play or practice outside – This might seem like a no-brainer, but practicing outside really does help with inspiration and motivation when the weather is nice. It’s a lot easier to pick up your guitar and play in the sun than it is to sit in a hot room inside when you don’t want to be there!
Take your guitar with you on your vacation – This can be a great time to test your skills out as a guitarist. Print out some lyric sheets for your favourite songs and get your friends and/or family to sing along with you, or enjoy the breeze on the beach while playing some good tunes.
Keep a guitar in plain sight – You are much more likely to pick up the guitar for a few minutes if it’s sitting out on a stand than if you have to dig it out of a case. I also find it to be much easier to grab an acoustic guitar when the weather is nice than it is to plug in an electric guitar and be confined to wherever the amp is.
Make a summer playlist – Make a playlist of all the songs that remind you of the summer so you can learn and play along with them. To give you an example, my list includes Bob Marley, Neil Young, the Tragically Hip, Fleetwood Mac, and a lot of other music that is laid back.
Play guitar with friends – Other guitarists and musicians can be great motivators for practicing the guitar, and can be a lot of fun to spend time with jamming throughout the summer. This is a good thing to get in the habit of any time of the year, so why not start now?
Make a list of what you know – Sit down and think about all the things you know right now, or did know at some point, including songs, scales, solos etc. Make sure to periodically go over all this stuff so that you don’t forget anything. If you find yourself becoming rusty on any of the items, make a note so that you can focus your attention on it when you practice. The key is to make the most effective use of your practice time.
Keep consistency in your training - Many people don't think of this, but if you keep up a consistent pace all year round with how you learn, train, and practice on the guitar, you're going to take so much more in and feel less stressed out about practicing. This doesn't mean you need to work for hours and hours each day -- but if you're consistent with the amount that you do practice, you will see great results. Being a guitar player or musician takes commitment, and consistency is the first step. Well-planned and structured guitar lessons can help keep you on your toes and ready for whatever comes your way.
Spend more time practicing – If you can manage to do this, you will be far ahead of most other guitarists. Think of your favourite guitarist or musician; do you think that they were sitting around practicing very little during the summer? I highly doubt it. They were likely practicing just as much at all times throughout the year. More people stop playing guitar during the summer than any other time of year, and the odds are that once you stop playing for any period of time that you won’t pick it back up again. The most unhappy guitar players out there always start to play the guitar and gain some momentum, and then they just stop a few months later, only to repeat this cycle over and over. There is no way to get good if you don’t practice consistently; even a few minutes a day is better than none!
I hope some of these tips will help you stay motivated and inspired to play throughout the summer, so that you don’t give up like so many other people have. The most important thing of all is to make sure that you continue to enjoy playing the guitar so that it sticks with you for years to come!