In this post, I highlight some of my favourite tips from Umastery that help me stay motivated to learn and practice guitar.
Intense motivation to learn the subject is the single key determinant to whether you will become an excellent guitar player or a mediocre one. ~Umastery.com
1. Set Short-Term Goals & Stay Organized
Motivation to learn depends on your sense of achievement. Short-term goals generally don’t take as long to complete, which allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment sooner and more often. It’s also important to make sure you organize these goals. Many guitarists practice in an unorganized and ineffective manner. Of course, they are usually unaware of this and can go for a long time without even noticing.
Are you practising effectively? Ask yourself, do I spend too much time focusing on guitar skills that I want to practice vs. need to practice? One of the most common mistakes is focusing on lead guitar riffs before you’ve nailed the basic, but the essential rhythm and chord training.
2. Recognize When You Make Progress
It’s important to reflect on what you’ve already accomplished. It’s easy to lose motivation when we encounter a setback, but when this happens, it’s important to consider where you started versus where you are today. This is an important step that we will come back to because if you let a setback cloud your judgment, there will be a guitar collecting dust somewhere in your house.
3. Reward Yourself When Achieving Goals
When you set all of those short-term goals, it is equally as important to define incentives for reaching those goals. These rewards will help keep you motivated to continue learning and advancing down the path of goals that you’ve set.
- Concert tickets to see one of your favourite bands play live
- Dinner at a local restaurant that features live bands
- New guitar gear
- A day off from practising (rest those fingers!)
4. Be Aware of Your Mindset & Stay Curious!
What is your current mindset when you practice guitar? Do you see practicing guitar as boring and repetitive? Be honest! In order to gain motivation to practice guitar, you must learn how to create a regimented practice routine that helps you enjoy learning. Guitar practice should be less of a liability and more of an opportunity to improve you abilities and create beautiful music. If you have a curious mind, it will propel you to learn and practice even more.
Hear Guitar God Steve Vai share “How to be Successful” as a guitar player.
5. Connect with People Who Are Also Learning Guitar
Sharing your learning experience with others can help in many ways.
- Set goals together and you can even make it a little competitive
- Share frustrations when you encounter areas of learning difficulty
- Have fun – practicing is less monotonous if you have a friend to do it with
- Help each other out when the other is struggling with an exercise
Online Communities for Guitar Players:
Don’t forget that there are countless online communities to keep you virtually connected: Facebook groups, Google+ Communities & Reddit Forums such as Guitar & GuitarLessons. SofaSession is a startup that makes it possible for you to jam online in realtime with your friends .
6. Watch Great Musician Play Live
Check your local event listings! Watching great musicians play live can be one of the biggest sources of inspiration. An opportunity to watch a great guitarist perform live can make you realize that it’s all possible with a regimented practice routine. If you can’t make it to a concert in the near future, there are many concerts uploaded on YouTube that you can start watching right now.
There are also plenty of concerts online on YouTube.
7. Listen to Music That You Want to Learn ♫
We realize that concerts are not something that can motivate you on a regular basis because we don’t have time, money, etc. Whenever I need motivation, I put on music that I know will inspire me to pick up the guitar. Either it will be a song that I want to learn next like “Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers or a song that just has one of the best guitar riffs like Slash’s in “November Rain” (let’s be honest, I am just starting out here).
8. Keep Your Guitar In Sight
When you see TV shows that feature the homes of famous guitars, you will notice that they usually have a guitar, if not several, in each room of their house. The theory goes along the lines of the proverb “out of site, out of mind”. Having your guitar in sight is a huge factor in motivation, take it from the pros.
9. Don’t forget to set long-term Goals
It is important to think beyond your short-term goals on what you want to accomplish in the long run. If you understand your long term goals, it will be that much easier to develop an appropriate practice routine to accommodate your “guitar playing vision” so to speak.
10. Have Passion for Music
Do you have a favorite genre of music that you are itching to learn on guitar? Maybe several? If you have passion for music, you will be better equipped to learn and practice guitar. Learn how to feel satisfied with practicing guitar, even if it doesn’t feel like you are getting anywhere in the moment, refer back to “Tip #2” when in doubt!