By Carvel Avis in Think About It
Everyone knows that, if you want to become a better guitarist, you have to spend more time playing! So here goes...
This will be the real test for whether or not you really want to become an exceptional guitar player. It's one of the best pieces of advice I ever gave to beginner guitarists. Remember the old expression, "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"? If you don't see your guitar, you might not think about picking it up. But, if you force yourself to see it several times a day, you WILL!
I started playing guitar at age 15 because a friend of mine from across the street played and when I went to hang out with him he would pick his guitar up and play. He showed me a few chords and I fell in love with the guitar. My parents gave me a guitar for Christmas that year but they didn't purchase a case for it so I would just lay it across my bed because I didn't really have a place to put it other than lean it against the wall.
Every time I walked back into my room, the guitar was laying there on my bed screaming, "Play me, play me!" I couldn't resist picking it up.
If you really have a desire to learn and continually improve as a guitar player, you won't be able to resist picking it up either.
Practice time should be approached positively. If you have to set a timer that tells you it's PRACTICE TIME - which means you have to go drag the guitar case out from under the bed or wherever you keep it - in that moment of decision you might choose to wait until later to pull it out of the case. And, later may never come.
Your frame of mind is a major factor in determining your success results. Playing and practicing because you are drawn to it - because you want to do it - is a whole lot more productive than doing it because you're determined to keep a practice schedule.
I'm not saying that keeping a practice schedule is a bad thing. On the contrary, it can be another major factor in creating a habit of consistently spending time with your guitar.
Your motivation to play should be born out of positive experiences. Do it because you want to do it - because it has become a way of daily life for you.
Think about diet plans. Most diet plans don't work because they're restrictive and regimented to the point that most people can't stick with it long term. So, once they stop the regimine, they go right back to eating the stuff that caused the problem in the first place. The most successful diets are those that become lifestyle diets.
There are enough frustrating times of trying to accomplish something before you reach the next level. You don't need another negative associated with practicing. When you pick up your guitar to play because it's in plain view throughout most of your day you'll pick it up way more than if you only do it "on a schedule". THAT ONE DIFFERENCE can translate into years of advancement in a short time.
I used to tell beginner guitarists that what it takes to become comfortable with playing the guitar is much like what it takes to become comfortable in a relationship with a very good friend. That one thing is TIME!
You've probably heard someone say something like, "I know I don't spend a large quantity of time with my kids or my spouse but I try to make up for it with quality time."
The problem with that statement is you have very little control over quality time. You never know when it might happen. Many times a special moment that goes a long way towards building a deeper relationship happens when you least expect it.
You can't expect QUALITY TIME without QUANTITY.
What Does This Have to do with the Guitar?
I know a lot of guitar players who boast that they have been playing guitar for 10 years but they really only have ONE year's experience 10 TIMES.
Think about that.
They still do the same things they learned in their first year. They never became "good friends" with their guitar. They're mere acquaintances. On the other hand, I know people who seem to get to know their instrument intimately in only 1 or 2 years! That only comes from spending concentrated time.
Leave your guitar out in a room where you are forced to see it several hours a day so far as that's possible. If leaving a guitar laying around is a bit of a problem for someone else in the house or if room decoration is an issue, get yourself a fancy guitar stand! Just leave the guitar out in plain view every waking hour.