Updated: Apr 23, 2018
It’s a statement I hear all the time and it always baffles me. It’s no secret that in order to be able to play the guitar to a decent standard it will require a certain amount of regular practice. That in mind, why do so many people get caught in the trap of not practicing because they think time is the issue? I’ve heard students over the years say to me that they just don’t have time for practice. These same students also become very frustrated with the fact that they are not improving with the guitar and just end up not playing at all. I always have a simple rule for myself, ‘I have time for the things I make time for’. We have to consider if guitar or learning this skill is actually important to us. If it is important then we have to settle in the idea that it’s the regular practice that is the key and we just need to do it, I myself even have to keep this in the forefront of my mind. When we think honestly about it, time is not the issue, our willingness to put effort in to our commitment is.
Learning Guitar isn’t one of those things that can be squeezed in for a couple of hours at the start of the week and that’s it. Anything that we will have learnt or any skills we will have developed will have depleted in a matter of days if not rehearsed regularly. I’ve always thought that if we can get consistent with practice then it’s something that will have a better chance of it becoming a regular habitual routine. I encourage all students to pick a time that they know they will have free in their day. Some may push back and believe that there is no time in the chaos of the day but even if it’s ten minutes, it’s a start. With that ten minutes we need to focus on a ‘quality practice’ and not just noodling around on the instrument. This would consist of a decent warm up, a few skill routines and maybe some song work to finish. Once a student can comfortably get this practice regular then they can see that they actually have the capacity to grow their practice slightly. On average I reckon most students aged about twelve and above should shoot for around half an hour of daily practice. Does this mean that days will be missed? of course, but if the goal is thirty minutes then we have a clear vision of what’s expected and what to do. When we can see how this regular practice is doable then we actually start to enjoy it more, it becomes less of a drag and we can start to see real improvements.
If we think about it in context. We always have time to see our favourite sports on TV and they can run for over an hour! We can always find time to binge on Netflix or just mindlessly scroll through Facebook for hours on end as well. Why can’t we make sure we have the time to do some practice then? The answer is simple; the practice requires more of us. We’ve spoken about the importance of setting goals and actually seeing them thr