Life is busy. We all have slightly too many commitments and interests, and we all need some downtime too. As much as we may love the guitar, sometimes guitar practice can feel like hard work.
Other times guitar practice seems easy and we wonder why we don’t always put in 8 hours a day. Most of the time however, our feelings lie somewhere between these two extremes.
Whether we can put in a good practice session often depends on what other commitments you have, how much energy you have at that time, how much time you have before you have to do something else, etc.
You can’t always control these things but there are many other things that you can control in order to make guitar practice as easy as possible.
Making guitar practice easier through easy access
If you keep your guitar in a case or, even worse, in a case in a wardrobe, then you are creating a psychological barrier between you and your practice session. It’s not that getting the guitar out requires any great effort, it’s that it requires action of ‘getting your guitar out’.
This could be just enough to put you off on those days when practice seems like hard work. If at all possible, have your guitar on a stand or hanger or even in the corner of the room; but one way or another, have it out and easily accessible. This way it’s easy to pick it up and put in 20 minutes of guitar practice, maybe even when you weren’t intending to.
Make guitar practice easier with a better environment
A nice environment makes guitar practice an easier and more pleasant experience. An environment in which you have to do a 15-minute tidy-up before you can face getting down to your guitar practice, is another unnecessary barrier.
Take a look at the room you practice in, or even just the corner of your room where you usually do your practice. See if you can make it a little more conducive to guitar practice. Make it a space where you can easily and calmly thumb through material and with minimal distractions and hindrances.
Make guitar practice easier by buying a music stand
If you don’t have a music stand, think about buying one. They cost very little money and make a world of difference. Hunching over a desk is uncomfortable and bad for the back. Hunching over a page on a bed is even worse.
A music stand is a wonderful accessory that positions material at eye level, encourages good posture and avoids perpetual back-ache.
Make guitar practice easier with your computer
If you use your computer in your practice sessions, to provide backing tracks say, have it permanently set up so you can just turn it on and go. If you have to rearrange objects and plug in speakers or an audio interface; again you have another small barrier between you and your practice session.
Make your guitar practice sessions easier by having your computer set up so that all you need to do is wake it up in order to get cracking. Have shortcuts on your computer desktop to whatever files or backing tracks you usually use. Add bookmarks in your browser to online backing tracks or useful websites… such as this one!
Make guitar practice easier with comfortable chair
This may seem obvious but you are more likely to put in a good practise session if you are comfortable. How comfortable is that chair of yours really?
If you can get a better one then great, but there’s no need to splash out. You could make your current chair a lot more comfortable simply by getting a decent cushion.
Making guitar practice easier with organised material
As with your guitar, have your material organised and easily accessible. Ten minutes of hunting around for a lost chart is an unnecessary waste of time. The added frustration you experience will do nothing to help your practice session.
Once you have a music stand, why not have your current guitar practice material permanently on it, along with your practice schedule? Have a metronome permanently on your stand too. And a tuner!
When you move on to another area of guitar practice, file away the material you’ve just finished in a that’s folder organised into sections (technique, licks, theory, etc). This way you can quickly and easily find it whenever you need again in the future.
Making guitar practice easier with planned guitar practice sessions
Sitting down and pondering what to do is also a waste of good guitar practice time. You should already have well-defined goals and a well-maintained practice schedule. If you don’t have one, try my free eBook on constructing a successful practice regime.
If you’ve had a practice regime in the past but let it slip, don’t worry, just try again. Reassess where you are and where you would like to be, and identify the most important areas and tasks to get started on. Was your previous attempt at a practice regime too ambitious? Was it focused on areas that you’re not actually that interested in?
Set some goals that provide a challenge but which are realistic, and build a guitar practice regime that sustainable.
Make guitar practice easier by having spares of everything
Picks, strings, cables, pens, paper, etc. Breaking a string on your only guitar at 6.55pm on a Saturday night, and not having a replacement is an unnecessary disaster. Keep spares of everything you need, and have them easily to hand, to minimise interruptions to your guitar practice session.
You’re going to have to buy that string anyway so why not buy it before it breaks rather than after, and save yourself the inconvenience?
Make sure whatever tools you need to change a string, are easily to hand as well. This will probably be a pair of mini-pliers, an Allen key (if you have locking heads on your guitar), maybe a spare section of a low E-string to poke the snapped string out of your bridge, etc. All of these little measures contribute to making your guitar practice sessions easier.
Make guitar practice easier by switching off notifications
This obviously depends on whether you need to be contactable or not. But, if at all possible, I strongly recommend that you turn off ALL notifications. This means your phone calls, your tablet, WhatsApp notifications, all email alerts, all social media notifications; absolutely everything.
With just a few unimportant interruptions along the way, a potential two-hour practice session can be shot to pieces.
That wasn’t so hard
Make your guitar practice easier by trying as many of these tips as you can. But keep an eye out for other ways to reduce the barriers between you and good quality guitar practice. The easier you make your guitar practice sessions, the easier it is to put in an extra ten minutes here and there. And the more appealing guitar practice in general becomes.
Over the course of a year, this can make the difference between 50 hours of average practice that felt like hard work, and 200 hours of premium guitar practice that you enjoyed. Mission half-accomplished!
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