17 August 2010

How To Feel Better About Guitar Practice So You'll Want To Do It More

Some people seem to enjoy guitar practice more than others even though they face just as many difficulties. Why is this?

It has a lot to do with the inner dialogue of these players - the voices in their head - as they practice, make mistakes, and learn.

What's Your Inner Dialogue When You Practice?

Many of us have a strong tendency to focus on the negative things in our playing. We notice the mistakes, the imperfections, the things we're not doing right or that seem to be taking more time than we think they should.

Some of us though, have learned to focus less of our attention on these problems. Instead we focus on good things in our playing, the little advances we make and the positive things we did during practice even though they may not have worked out as we would have liked. When you focus your attention on these little successes you tend to enjoy the process of learning more.

But how do you make the change in attitude to create better feelings about your own guitar practice? Here's one easy and effective way...

Catch Yourself Doing Something Right

If you're used to bashing yourself up over the mistakes, errors, and things that don't go well in guitar practice then you'll need to make a conscious effort to change this thought process. A good way to do that is to begin each guitar practice session with the deliberate goal of catching yourself doing something right. Anything right.

Write down the following in big letters at the top of your practice list or in some prominent place so that you'll see it as you practice:


As you practice make a mental note each time you catch yourself doing something right. You might prefer to quickly scribble it down in your practice journal or on a sheet of paper. The important thing is to pay attention to what you do right and take an instant to savour the good feeling this gives you.

Review Your Good Moments

At the end of each session take a couple of minutes to review your good moments.

If you only made a mental note then now is the time to write them down. If you keep a written record you can review it before your next practice session and you'll get a free good feeling before you even start.

Try It For One Week

Try to catch yourself doing something right each time you practice guitar this week to get into the habit. Commit to listing at least three things you do right each time you practice. Write down the three things you caught yourself doing at the end of each session and then review it as you start the next.

Don't be too ambitious, remember that small things count. For example, give yourself credit if you simply show up and practice. Give yourself another credit if you worked on a problem in your playing, it doesn't matter if you solved it or not. You should soon see that it's really not so hard to catch yourself doing lots of good things...

At the end of the week review all the things you caught yourself doing right and make a summary list of the three or four achievements that you're most pleased with. Re-read this list every day to feel good about all the work you're doing and the progress it will inevitably bring you.

To make sure you're really motivated to complete this challenge, why not share this post with a friend and tell them that you are going to do it. Or even better, share it with a fellow guitar learner and see who can catch themselves doing the most things right...

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Nuno Barreto said...

I used to have a motivation problem when i started to play guitar, which lead me to quit playing. Luckily i have changed, and now i have been playing for two years. With no sign of stopping!

Very good tips, you have got there! Focus on the positive guys!


Gary Fletcher said...

Hi Nuno, Thanks for your comment. Keep on keeping on!

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