Guitar Tutorial: One Simple Step to Avoid the Trap of Wasted Guitar Practice Sessions

It’s a common scenario…

You’ve got limited time to play guitar.

You grab your guitar and start to practice.

In a snap, your practice session is over.

The problem is you feel like you got nothing done and have nothing to show for your time.  What’s worse is, more often than not, this pattern seems to repeat itself.

Well, you’re not alone.

A lot of guitar players experience this from time to time.  Today we will look at a very common reason for wasted guitar practice sessions, and most importantly, we will look at a simple solution.

Imagine this…

A friend has decided that he’s going to compete in the next Olympics.  He invites you out to his workout/training session.

You grab a seat.  Your buddy starts to warm-up and begin to train, but about 6 minutes in, his cell phone rings…

He stops and answers the phone.  He talks for a short bit and then resumes training.

About 10 minutes later, your buddy stops again. This time it’s because he hears the “ping” notification of incoming email.  So he stops training to check his email.

What do you think of your friend’s training program?  It’s laughable to think that anyone would train this way and expect to get even half-decent results.

Now think about your guitar practice sessions.  Now I know you are not competing for the guitar Olympics, but, you do want to get the best you can from every practice session, don’t you?  Well, one of the keys to getting the most out your practice sessions is to keep your focus on the guitar and what you are doing.

The Key to Focus

focusTo keep your focus during your practice session, you must eliminate as many potential interruptions as possible.  When you eliminate potential interruptions before you start to practice, you ensure that your practice session remains your practice time, not time that can be easily interrupted and stolen from you.

An interruption is anything that diverts your attention from what you have chosen to spend your time on.  An interruption may be someone knocking on your front door, someone calling you on the telephone, or if your computer is on all the time, it could be the little “ping” sound that says you have email.

Picture this: you are writing an important report for school or work.  You have just come up with an amazing idea, your fingers are typing as fast as they can and then out of nowhere…ring, ring, ring.  Someone is calling you on the phone.  You get up to answer the phone to find out that it was just a wrong number.  You walk back to the computer and sit down.  Now, where were you?  You read what you have written and get up to the point where you left off, and now you can’t remember where you were going to take that last idea.  Sometimes you are lucky and you can recall your idea almost immediately.  Other times it may take five, or ten minutes to get back into the flow again.  Worst-case scenario is that sometimes you can’t remember where you were going to take the idea.

As you play guitar, you will find that you will sometimes get into the “zone”.

You start to make great progress on learning that new song.

Your fingers fly effortlessly over the neck as you play that new scale, or perform that new guitar solo.

You lose track of time.

You don’t even notice that you’re hungry!

If you get interrupted, you may or may not be able to get back into the flow.  But even if you are just enjoying a normal practice session, any interruption will take you away from what you have chosen to focus your time and energy on.

Interruptions hurt your focus and steal time away from you.  When you allow an interruption to do what it does best—interrupt—you are allowing someone else to control your time. Most interruptions are random and make no consideration for your valuable time.  When the phone rings and you answer it, the caller has no idea that you actually were busy at the time they called you!  The caller steals time from you in two ways:

  1. The actual time of the interruption.  This is the amount of time it takes you to put the guitar down to answer the phone and then return to playing the guitar.
  2. Once you are playing again you have to pick up where you left off. It can sometimes take quite some time to get back into the flow of what you were doing, or sometimes you just never quite get back to where you were.

Depending on what you were doing until you were interrupted, a simple wrong number or annoying telemarketer can sometimes steal 5, 10, 15, or more minutes of valuable practice time.  If your practice session is 30 minutes and you lose 10 minutes due to an interuption─you’ve lost 1/3 of your practice time!  Don’t let this happen.  Take control of your time and eliminate as many interruptions as you can before you start your practice session.

4 Simple Ways to Avoid Interruptions When You Play Guitar

  1. If you share accommodations with others, tell them that you are not to be disturbed for the duration of your practice session.
  2. Turn off the ringer on your telephone and your cell-phone.  Let your answering system handle any calls that occur during your practice session.  If you are expecting a call, be the caller instead of the callee.
  3. Turn-off the TV and your computer.
  4. Have all of your practice gear ready.  Create your own checklist of everything, and I do mean everything, that you will need for your practice sessions. This way you simply grab your checklist and then get everything you need for your practice session.  There is no messing around.  No forgotten metronome, or missing sheet music.  You’ve got what you need so you can use your practice time for practice not search and rescue missions.  Be sure to update your checklist as needed.  This is crucial!

This is just one of many ways to get the most out of your practice sessions.  To learn how to practice for maximum results, check out Guitar Accelerator.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>