You can have the best guitar or an excellent ear for music, but if you lack motivation you will not be able to learn the guitar. Your motivation is the key to your guitar-playing success. And if you're struggling to find motivation, remember, you’re not the only one. Many guitar players battle to stay motivated for their practice sessions at some point or another. In most cases, it’s caused by the misunderstanding of how and what you’re supposed to practice.
Here are 10 tips to help you stay motivated when you’re learning the guitar:
1. Stay Organized
Staying organized and knowing what you want to achieve with your guitar-playing will help you stay motivated and focused. Make sure you set yourself short- and long-term goals.
Short-term goals are your quick fix to motivation and shouldn't take long to complete. If you set yourself many short-term goals, you will allow yourself to experience a sense of accomplishment on a regular basis. By focusing on the basics like rhythm and chord training, it will motivate you to keep on going.
On the other hand, your long-term goals are linked to your dreams. Unfortunately, your aspirations as a guitar player have no quick fix. It takes years and a lot of planning to become a great guitar player.
Look at your long-term goals as the bigger picture and each practice session as a puzzle piece that completes that picture. In other words, make sure you’re practicing effectively while maintaining a balance between what you want and what you need to practice.
2. Let Go of Assumptions
Let go of any assumptions that define what a good guitar player is or how fast the internet says you’re supposed to be improving. The truth is, we’re all different and there isn’t just one mold of how a great guitar player should be.
Keep your strengths and weaknesses in mind while you’re learning the guitar. Even though there might be some aspects you’ll have to work harder on, there will also be other aspects you excel at.
3. Start Simple and Embrace Consistency
We’ve all heard the saying about keeping things simple. And as tired you may be of hearing it, it’s the way to go. If you’re serious about learning the guitar, remind yourself that it will take time. So embrace this time!
Keep your practice sessions short and uncomplicated in the beginning. This will lessen the initial challenges that come along with learning the guitar, as well as your frustration. By eliminating these obstacles, you focus more on consistency and help your practice sessions to feel like second nature.
If you don’t feel motivated, don’t let it get you down. Acknowledge it and keep going by keeping your practice session short and simple. As it becomes more of a habit, you can slowly adjust your practice session to fit your needs.
4. Keep Your Guitar in Sight
Placing your guitar where you can see it will remind you of your goals and why you have it. Displaying it in a room might give you the necessary motivation to pick up your guitar and play it. It doesn’t matter if it’s just for a 15-minute practice session – every bit counts.
5. Have the Right Mindset
In order to stay motivated, you have to be honest with yourself. If you see your practice session as boring and repetitive, you’ll be reluctant to pick up your guitar. So what can you do to change it? Well, it all comes down to planning.
To keep your practice sessions interesting, you have to teach yourself to constantly change and adapt your practice routines. For example, you can try the interleaved practice method. This will challenge your brain by keeping it wondering what’s going to happen next.
Learning the guitar must be an opportunity and not a liability. It’s your chance to improve your skills and play beautiful music.
6. Have a Support Group
Surrounding yourself with positive and like-minded people always makes a journey better. It can also help you in your learning process when you have peers to share your learning experience with.
Having a support group will enable you to share frustrations, help each other out, and make your practice sessions a bit more fun. And a little bit of friendly competition never hurt anyone!
7. Know What You Need To Practice
Many guitar players don’t know exactly what and how they should be practicing. If you just jump in without doing your research, you might try to learn too many exercises at once and become overwhelmed.
To avoid this mistake, think about your goals and list what you need to do to achieve them. Those aspects must be the main focus of your practice sessions. You should also make sure that you give yourself enough time to process the new information before moving on.
A good practice session all comes down to giving yourself enough time and proper research.
8. Let the Music Inspire You
This idea goes along the lines of an old Buddhist saying, “The mind is everything. What you think, you become”. So let your favorite music be a guide in your learning process.
Taking an opportunity to go and see a live show, or just listening to your favorite songs, can get the creative juices flowing and motivate you to pick up your guitar. It will remind you what is possible when you stick to your practice routine.
9. Reward Yourself
It’s important to reward yourself when you reach your goals. You can treat yourself with that new guitar strap you like, or just a day off from practicing. Rewards like these will help you stay motivated and excited to reach your next goal.
10. Find a Good Teacher
You can learn the guitar on your own. There is no doubt about it. But for some guitar players, flying solo is a tough and difficult journey. If you struggle and your finances allow it, invest in a good teacher. Your progress can be faster under the guidance of someone with the knowledge, experience, and a structured learning process.
At the end of the day, all these tips can only guide you on how to stay motivated if you’re up to it. Your success of learning the guitar depends on you and your will power. So, no matter how difficult it might be or frustrated you are, don’t give up.
About the Author: Helen Baker
I am a freelance teacher and writer based in Ann Arbor, MI. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, I spent some time teaching English in Paris and, thereafter, returned to Ann Arbor where I was involved both in the media and academics. Currently I am a stay at home mom, working as a freelance writer and teacher. I love all my guitars and I also have an affinity towards old grand pianos. I love singing, traveling, reading, writing, watching films and spending quality time with my husband.