Today, we encourage you to think about why you play the guitar. Dreams of shredding on stage with Steve Vai aside, most musicians would cite the emotional connection to music as a big motivator.
Guitar practice, after all, is like a form of meditation; think about it: there’s a reason that art and music therapy have become a booming industry. The ties between human emotion and music are unmistakable. (Need extra proof? Check out this video of a nursing home resident and his reaction to music from his era.)
Many spiritual advocates encourage the act of living “in the moment,” a mindset that will help you leave the past behind and stop worrying about the things you can’t control in the future. For some musicians, getting “lost” in the music is natural. For others, it may take some practice.
So how can you add a little zen to your guitar playing? Here are some great tips for a zen guitar practice session, as originally published on Guitar Habits, one of our favorite guitar blogs:
The best way to practicing this way is in solitude. Tell your family when and for how long you are going to practice. Ask them to give you some privacy for the time being. Find yourself a room in the house where you can have some peace and quiet. Create your own sacred hide out where you can play your instrument, where you can practice without distractions (turn off all electronic devices) and work on becoming a better guitar player or songwriter.
Slow is the way to go. When you practice licks, solos, chord progressions, or anything at all, you first need to practice things slow. We are all eager to play faster, but we also need to play fluently. Your fingers and your brain need to get used to new moves and shapes. Be patient and take your time. Concentrate on clear notes, steady rhythm and guitar fluency. Make sure you can play things perfect slowly and then build up speed gradually.
Take a moment to breathe and release the tension from the muscles in your fingers, hands, arms, shoulders and back. Let them rest for a few minutes. Go through a small relaxation exercise for great results: Focus on single parts of your body and relax them one by one.
You design and live the life you create. Buddha said: “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” Therefore banish all negative thoughts like: “I can’t do this,” “This is impossible,” and “No way this is going to work.” If those lines enter your mind you will just say to yourself: “I let you go now.” Replace that with positive, motivational and inspiring thoughts like: “I will get there,” “I’m becoming a better player with each workout,” “I’m working on something cool here” and “Practice makes perfect.”
What do you think of these tips? Are you “zen” in your guitar playing? Stop by our Facebook page and share your thoughts with the community!
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