So, you’re full of enthusiasm and perhaps you’ve got a new guitar and perhaps a new guitar teacher. You’re all fired up and ready to practice 10 hours a day until your fingers fall off.
But of course, at first everything went well until maybe a week, or month into your routine, you start getting distracted. Life gets in the way and, suddenly, twitter, Facebook and videos of fat ninjas slicing up fruit become more compelling than picking up your guitar and playing.
You may have fallen into the overly optimistic practice routine trap. I know about this because I have been there before. (Cue the 12 bar blues…”I woke up this morning, and I got no practice done…) What’s worse, you feel guilty about not playing which then further compounds your propensity to procrastinate and get nothing done. Motivation wanes and your guitar starts gathering dust in the corner of your room. (Cue “While my guitar gently weeps”)
So, speaking from experience, here’s a great way to break a pattern of low motivation and distraction. Drum roll…
Use the 5 minute guitar practice routine trick. What’s that I hear you ask?! It’s this…
Decide to play at least 5 minutes of guitar everyday.
That’s it?! Yup, that’s it. And I know because it actually works from my own experience. The act of deciding to practice for a mere 5 minutes has the following effects:
1) You don’t feel overwhelmed by the 5 minute time period and so you are much less likely to procrastinate or put it off completely
2) You then find that after 5 minutes of playing, it is much easier to stay in the groove and keep playing. This trick eases your mind past the procrastination hump. Getting past the initial inertia is most of the battle
3) This is a great technique to use with your more challenging pieces. It’s easy to do an hour of bad practice, just hacking through stuff you already know. With this technique, you can at least break down your harder pieces into more mentally manageable chunks. I used this technique when complicated Bach suites were kicking my ass during my college days.
4)When making the decision to practice for only 5 minutes, you find that you never really practice for such a short time. 5 minutes becomes 10 minutes which in turn becomes 20 minutes and so on. In fact, one time I was battling with practicing procrastination, I used this technique and 5 minutes turned into 2 hours of great practice.
Remember, the key is doing this every day or at least, say, 5 times a week. Regularity is where it’s at. Slowly building mental stamina and good mental habits is the answer. The worst case scenario is that you did 5 minutes of practice which although is not that much, it’s way better than doing nothing.
Here are some extra tips that you may find useful:
1) If you are only playing 5 minutes a day, just practice one thing a week. For example, only practice chords, or once piece of music or one scale. That way, you will actually see some progress
2) You might want to implement this technique as your first routine in the morning. You get up and grab the guitar. That way, you are usually too sleep to think of devious ways to procrastinate.
3) If this technique doesn’t get you out of a rut, consult a fully qualified trained professional guitarist to slap you in the face…like me!
Please leave your comments and questions below as I would love to get your feed back on this.
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