Playing guitar isn’t for the faint of heart. Its six strings require finger strength, and if you don’t practice, you simply won’t get better. Everyone begins taking lessons with the intention that they’ll make time to practice, but sometimes we find that work, events, and life just gets in the way. If this sounds like you, here are guaranteed 10 ways to trick yourself into practicing guitar on a regular basis.
1. Leave your guitar out of its case.
Get a guitar stand that sits on the floor, or if space is an issue, get a hook so that it can hang on the wall. If your guitar is out, you’re more likely to pick it up. Out of sight, out of mind. In sight, it’s jammin time.
2. Practice during commercials.
Love binge watching your favorite TV show and can’t bear to pull yourself away to practice? No problem! Leave your guitar nearby, and during the commercial breaks, do finger exercises or play a song. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
3. Invite friends over to jam.
Practicing with friends is more fun than practicing alone. Invite pals over on the weekends for a jam, or if your place is too small, invite yourself over to their place!
4. Show off to anyone who comes over.
Whether it’s your mom, your date or the UPS man, if someone steps foot into your pad, turn them into your personal audience. Say, “Hey, I’m taking guitar lessons, can I play you a short song?” Then, play “Stairway to Heaven”!
5. Join a band.
Practicing makes you get good. Bands practice. Plus, being in a band is fun! Even if you’re only meeting once a week, you’re practicing one time a week.
If you have the guts to perform on the street or in the subway (officially known as busking), spend a weekend afternoon plucking away on a park bench. You may even make a few bucks. Getting paid to practice? Now, that’s a sweet gig.
7. Attend an open mic.
You don’t even have to play, just attend. As a matter of fact, if you go to any music event, you’re going to get inspired. Watch the musician’s fingers, listen for various cues and see if you can guess the chords they’re playing. Betcha $5 when you get home you’ll pick up your guitar.
8. Teach someone else what you know.
Even if you only know a few chords, teach them to someone else—maybe a child in the family or a friend. When you teach, for some reason, your brain keeps the information better. Cool!
9. Find Yngwie Malmsteen on YouTube.
If watching that guy shred doesn’t inspire you, nothing will.
10. Attend a Guitar MeetUp Group.
They are in every city from the Lower East Side of New York City to uptown Chatanooga, and consist of dozens of guitarists with the same challenges and problems that you have. Work together and become the rock god that you are meant to be.
Studying with a private guitar teacher is the best way to improve your skills and grow by leaps and bounds as a guitarist. Search for your guitar teacher now!
Jessica D. is a guitar, ukulele, singing, and songwriting instructor in New York, New York. Learn more about Jessica here!
Photo by Nisarg Lakhmani