2 January 2012

Did You Practice Guitar Today?

Yesterday was New Year's Day, the first day of 2012. Did you practice or play your guitar? I did. I hope you did too.image_thumb


Almost half the responses so far to the question What Will You Do to Play Better Guitar in 2012 are "Really take time for that practice session every day." But how many actually practiced on the 1st of January?


But I only missed one day…

"How does a project get to be a year late? ... One day at a time." -- Fred Brooks


In his book The Mythical Man Month, Fred Brooks told about his experience managing the IBM OS/360 project. Fred Brooks' observed that a very large delay in a project arises from a number of small and seemingly insignificant slippages that occur every day.


This same observation applies to your guitar projects. It might not seem like a big deal to miss those twenty minutes of practice today. But each day you skip those seemingly insignificant minutes adds to the delay that could prevent you from reaching your guitar goals for the year.

So, if you didn't practice on the 1st January, be sure to put that right today. If you keep your attention on that little task of practicing today, every day throughout this year, you can be sure you'll have made significant progress in your guitar projects by next December.


How will you practice on more days?

What do you need to change in your daily routine to make that practice session happen, without fail, every day?


The thing that has worked best for me is to fix a regular time when I'm sure I can practice, undisturbed by other events. Pick a time that suits you and let everybody know about it. Making your commitment public boosts your motivation to stick to it.


My favourite time for this kind of activity that I really want to happen every day is first thing in the morning. It's quite easy to get up half an hour earlier and get to work while I'm still fresh and the day's events won't interfere.


What about you?

What techniques work best at helping you ensure you get in daily guitar practice? I'd love to hear about them, so please use the comment link below to share them with us.


Photo by Rob Ellis.


Fred G said...

Great post! I can honestly say that I spend at least an hour each day to practice, but yesterday I practiced 2 hours and today 3 hours. The issue is seeing the fruits of my labor. I struggle through most practices but I do not always see the return. Any thoughts on this?

Scott said...

I teach guitar in the evenings after work 4 nights a week and preach this very thing to my students. Consistent practice really is the key. A little each day is a lot better than the mega marathon once a week. Because I teach, its hard to find time to get my own practice in. I'm either with a student or putting together lessons for them. Like you mentioned, I try to get 1/2 hour in the morning and then at least an hour in the evenings after my last student. Its hard sometimes, but if you are truly committed, you'll find the time.

Anonymous said...

Take an electric guitar to work, and practice in a meeting room at lunch time, either unplugged or with an amp plug and headphones.

Fred G said...

Great motivational post. I've been strict about playing at least one hour each day since June 2011 with exception to traveling. The hard part for me is that I expect improvement to come more frequently than it does. However, I find that when I play with others the improvements show in a major way. I think that practice is great but I also see that a jam session about every 7-10 days is needed to see the benefits of the practice. I too find that getting up 30 min early to work on specific material is useful and then using 30 min to an hour later in the day for fun stuff. At least it seems to work for me. Thanks for keeping up with this blog it really does help to read your posts. This is coming from a beginner that needs all of the help he can get!

James said...

I played on the first and play everyday. I also play first thing in the AM and after work also.My problem is staying focused on progress and not just noodling away on some scales and licks. That will be my commitment this year, staying focused on learning new things.

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