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Guitar Practice Motivation


The day you bought your first guitar you didn't need any guitar practice motivation.

The day you picked up your new amplifier... no motivation needed then either.

As you looked forward to your first lesson, no guitar practice motivation was necessary.

Unfortunately, one day... you just can't pick up that guitar... ... you just don't want to.

Maybe that day is today?

Why? What changed?

Chances are... you had a mental image of success that has been crushed by reality, and now you're frustrated.

Now what? Consider these thoughts...


Assess Your Progress

I almost wish I had been required to record my first practice sessions.

Don't get me wrong... I would have protested loudly at the time. But now... I would have something to look back on to measure my progress. That might be the best guitar practive motivation I could ever have.

At times we all need to stop and think back. Can you remember the very first time you picked up your guitar and tried to play? I'll bet it was a struggle. I'll bet you were surprised at how hard it was to find the right string... to play without the strings buzzing... and, do you recall how much your finger tips hurt after a short practice?

You might still struggle with some of these beginner problems. But you have improved. Admit it!

How slow was your first scale? How hard was it to move from your very first chord to the second one, and then move back again?

If you need some guitar practice motivation... then stop kicking yourself and... Keep everything in perspective!

You are making progress. Stop and write down all the things you can play... It's OK. We'll wait...

Great! Now keep this list, and look at it again in a month.

Remember... It takes time to hone the complex motor and mental skills required to play guitar. Do not give up!

Good. You're still reading. You're still willing to listen to guitar practice motivation tips. You can do it!

OK... now what?


Set SMART Goals

I did not invent SMART goals. I learned about them as part of my business career. I am sharing them here because they work, and if you use them correctly they are great guitar practice motivation tools.


SIDEBAR: The term SMART is an acronym. An acronym is a word formed from the first letter of a series of words. In this case SMART is from Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound. Others use slightly different terms, but the idea is the same.


A SMART goal is:

One other aspect of most SMART goals is the reward. In addition to setting a SMART goal (or a set of SMART goals, if you are adventurous) determine what your reward will be when you accomplish your goal. Have you been wanting to buy that new DVD on playing guitar leads? Make it a reward, then work to obtain it. Have your eyes on a drum machine? Set up a tough SMART goal, then GO FOR IT!


The Mountain Climber Analogy

Sometimes it's better to be in the valley than on the peak.


SIDEBAR: Yes, you read that right. The analogy is that it's better to be struggling with your lessons and studies than to have perfected the latest set. Don't believe me? Stick with me a little longer...


You reach a peak when you've practiced repeatedly and you finally get it! It's time to celebrate and enjoy that moment.

Unfortunately, there are only two ways to go once you reach a peak: Nowhere, or Down. You can't go up from a peak, or you wouldn't be on the peak yet ;-)

If you go nowhere, you've reached a plateau. You're no longer improving. You practice enough to stay where you are. You may even improve on your plateau material, but that's not the same as striving for a new peak.


SIDEBAR: If you haven't already, see the discussion on Rote, Rut, Rot... on the Practice Advice page. It describes a key reason people lose their guitar practice motivation!


If you go down from your peak, you're headed for a Pit... and that's worse than sitting on a plateau. You start thinking of how hard it was to learn what you already know... and you've peeked at those pages further back in your lesson book... there are too many dots! You don't even want to think about trying to read that stuff, much less play it.

At that point, you are likely to stop listening to guitar practice motivation tips, and just let your equipment collect dust.

Don't allow this to happen! You've worked hard to achieve your peak. You've learned this much, and you can learn more!

So, turn your current peak into a valley. Look up for the next peak. Set your sights higher.

Learn to love the valley, because it's easy to look up!




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