Learn Songs That You Like!
There is nothing worse than summoning up the courage to sit down and practice a song that you don’t like. We’ve all been there, and we all know that we’re far less likely to practice these songs. That’s why it is extremely important to learn songs that you like! Whether it’s completely subconscious or not, you will be 100 times more likely to sit down and practice if you’re learning your favourite songs on the guitar. You can start off by making a playlist of your favourite songs of all time (or you may already have one!), then bring that in to your next guitar lesson with your teacher. They will be able to have a flick through your playlist and pick a song that is suitable for your level, and will be able to get you playing more instantly!
Short and Long Term Goals
Although it’s great to set yourself big goals on the guitar in the form of challenging songs that you chip away at over many months (or even years!), it is incredibly important (I might even say more important) to also set yourself much smaller short term goals. Taking several months to slowly work through a song takes a great deal of discipline to keep up motivation to practice this. People will often have these songs that they have on the back burner that they are constantly working on, but will also learn other much simpler songs in the meantime to switch things up a bit. Learning a series of simpler songs is a great way to boost morale, since you are not only completing several smaller tasks which is a great ego boost, but also gives you a catalogue of songs that you know from start to finish that you can play along to as a warm up before you tackle your more difficult material, or just to jam out to for fun! Going along with our first tip, make these easier songs tunes that you like that
get you pumped up for playing the guitar. Some popular examples include “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, “Wild Thing” by the Troggs, and “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes.
Keep Your Instrument in Good Condition
There’s nothing worse than trying to practice on a guitar with rusty old strings that sound horrible and won’t stay in tune, or a guitar with a warped neck like a banana with an action so high that you can barely play a note! Keeping your instruments in good condition is extremely important to boosting the practice hours and enjoying your time playing. Do yourself a favour, take your guitar to a local music store or guitar tech and get a simple setup done. This will include adjusting the neck angle which will improve playability, tweaking the intonation which will improve tuning, and a re-string which will improve everything and feel much nicer to play! Now that your guitar plays like butter, you won’t be able to put it down!
Scheduled Practice Routine
The hardest challenge for any busy student to navigate through is finding the time to practice. I’ve heard every excuse under the sun: “work’s been super busy”, “I have too many after school activities”, “I left my guitar at my beach house”, “my little brother twisted all the tuners of my guitar and a string broke so I couldn’t practice”, “my dog ran past my guitar and knocked it over so it smashed everywhere” (yes that did actually happen). At the end of the day it’s quite simple; if you want to improve on the guitar, you need to practice. The hardest part for most students is to first establish that practice routine, and pay attention to the word routine. You need to make practising guitar apart of your daily life just as having a shower, eating a meal or washing the dishes would be. For most people this will most likely happen before or after school/work, before or after dinner, or just before bed. Experiment with different times to see what works for you. There is no right or wrong, as long as you manage to get the practice in. For more tips on how to practice, check out some of our other articles on this topic!
Watch Live Music!
Lastly one of the best ways that I have found to boost motivation for practising the guitar is to go out and see who does it best! Live music is great for so many reasons, but one reason in particular is that you get to see your guitar idols play the songs that you love. This could be on all scales, from a show at Wembley Stadium to a guy playing in the local pub on a Friday night. Great guitarists are everywhere, and after an evening of watching someone’s playing that you admire, that will surely be more than enough to getting you motivated.