17 Ways to Get More Time to Play Guitar

Want more time to play guitar?

Well you’re not alone.  For most guitar players, this is their biggest problem.

In this article I’m going to show you 17 great ways to get more time to play guitar. You’ll also get some tips that will show you how to get the most out the guitar when you do sit down to play.

stop watch

1. Analyze how you currently spend your time. To get more time to play guitar you must first know where your time is currently going.  Here is an eye-opening exercise.

Grab a piece of paper and across the top write down the days of the week.  Now down the side of the piece of paper, write down one-hour time blocks from 12 am to 12 pm.

Now below each day, write in your typical activities and how much time you usually spend performing each of them.  Make sure you include work/school, sports, hobbies, eating, sleeping, time with friends, family, etc.

Next add up the total time accounted for in each day.  It should add up to 24 hours each day, if not, something has been missed.  Now that you’ve got a better idea where your time is currently being spent, you’ll be able to answer an important question…

2. Are there some things you can stop doing altogether? Was everything that you did over the last 7 days absolutely essential?  If there is something you can stop doing, stop doing it and use that time to play guitar.

3. Do less of low priority activities. Take a look at everything you did over the last 7 days and rate them on a scale of 1-10.  Use 10 as something that is very important to you, or something that you must do, and 1 as something very unimportant.  Consider doing less of the activities that you rated at 1-3.

4.  Delegate. Are there some things that must be done each week but not necessarily by you?  If so, these are prime candidates for delegation.  Consider your hourly rate of pay, if you can pay someone to do the gardening, house cleaning, or dry cleaning for less per hour than you make, consider delegating those tasks and using the freed up time to play guitar.

5. Add guitar time first thing in the morning. What about getting up earlier in the morning to play guitar first thing?  The great thing with this is you get your guitar playing done nice and early and then you can get on with the rest of your day.

6. Play guitar at night. If you are more of a night owl, consider staying up an extra half hour to play some guitar before you go to bed.

7. What about cutting down on television time or Internet time? Do you really need to spend all of that time watching TV and surfing the Internet?

8. How much time do you spend gaming? Can you use some of that time to play guitar?  If you spend lots of time playing Guitar Hero, why not become a real guitar hero and learn to play your favourite guitar songs on the real guitar?  Yes it will take some work but won’t it be worth it?


9. Can you make better use of your commuting time? This is a biggie! This tip and number 10 are two easy ways to add more time to your music studies.  Here’s how they work:

If you take public transit to and from school/work, start to listen to recordings of the songs you are learning or want to learn.  The better you know how a song goes, the easier it will be for you to learn.

How about using this time to write the guitar tab for the songs you already know how to play on guitar?  This will help you to better internalize songs and help you to memorize them.

What about writing out the tab for the newest song you want to learn.  First do it from the tab book or magazine and then work on doing it from memory.

Why not work on learning guitar music theory?  Bring a good guitar music theory book with you and work on it during your commute.  Music theory explains how guitar chords and guitar scales work and act as the building blocks to music.  Once you understand how these building blocks work, you will understand music much better.  This will make learning songs much, much easier. Over the long-term learning guitar theory will save you more time than it takes to learn it.  Remember that it’s much easier to learn something when you understand how it works.

10. Use your breaks at work or school to improve your guitar playing. Work on the mental aspects of your guitar playing when you take a break at work.  Listen to your favourite guitarists and commit the songs to memory.  Also use the ideas covered in number 9 above during your breaks.

11. Use active learning when you are outside. If you are in a restaurant, or a store and there is music playing, try to identify what’s going on with your ears.  If there is a live band at the bar or restaurant—watch the guitarist.  See what he/she is doing.  Identify the chords and scales being used etc.  If you are out walking somewhere, take your mp3 player and listen to songs you are working on or want to learn.


12.  Practice finger coordination exercises when you are away from the guitar. You can improve your guitar technique when you are away from the guitar.  For example, position your fret-hand in the air as if it was on the neck of the guitar and practice finger exercises like 1234, 1243, 1324, etc.  Practice them on your leg, on your opposite forearm, or on a table top.  Practice them everywhere you can.  Also practice guitar scale fingerings, guitar chord fingerings and arpeggios this way.

left hand guitar fingering indications

13. Visualization. This is a powerful trick musicians have been using hundreds of years to improve their playing.  When you are away from your guitar, play guitar in your mind’s eye.  Visualize yourself playing guitar.  In your mind, see and hear yourself playing the new guitar song you are working on.  See and hear yourself playing that guitar scale, guitar chord or arpeggio.  The more vivid the detail, the better.

14. For relaxation, instead of watching a movie, watch concert DVDs and/or Blue-rays of your favourite bands and guitarists live.  You can also watch instructional guitar DVDs.

15. Bring a notepad with you and practice drawing out the newest chords or scales you are working on. Do the same for the newest guitar song you are working on.  Write out the tab from memory.  Just think about how much easier it will be to play a guitar song when you can write out the tab for it from memory!


16. Think on paper. One of the key principles of effective time management is to think on paper.  Plan your day in advance and slot in some time so you can play guitar.  If you don’t plan to play guitar you won’t—so schedule some practice time.

17. Set aside specific times and days that are just for you to play guitar. Regardless of whether you want to play guitar for an hour a day, or an hour a week, let your family/roommates know that a certain block of time is your guitar playing time.

It might be that 7-8 pm is your time to play guitar.  During this time you can’t be interrupted.  You won’t answer the phone or the door.  This is your time.  When you treat it as precious time that is important to you, your family will respect this.  By eliminating interruptions, you will get more out of every practice session.

The other great thing with setting up a regular practice time is you will come to expect to play guitar at this time.  It becomes a habit.  You expect to play guitar and you will play guitar.  If you miss your regular practice session you will feel bad about it and feel like you are really missing out, so you will be more likely to do whatever you have to so that you don’t skip your next practice session.

So there you have it.  You now have 17 ways to get more time to play guitar.  Apply as many of these 17 ways as you can and see how much more time you can get to play guitar.

Here’s the great thing—as you play more guitar you will get better.  The better you get on the guitar, the more you will get out of your practice sessions.  The better you get on the guitar the more you’ll want to play guitar!

I hope you found some tips here you can apply to your guitar playing right now. Please leave me a comment on what you thought of this article and check out www.GuitarAccelerator.com to learn how to get maximum results from your practice time and get the guitar chops you’ve always wanted.

About Don J MacLean

Don J. MacLean is one of the world's leading authorities on accelerated learning systems for guitar—with students using his methods in more than 50 countries worldwide. Don is the author of over 60 books including The World of Scales, the Absolute Essentials of Music Theory for Guitar, How I Got Killer Guitar Chops While I Was Still in High School: Confessions of a High School Shredder, 21 Secrets to Learn any Guitar Song Super-Fast, and Guitar Essentials: Chord Master Expanded Edition.


17 Ways to Get More Time to Play Guitar — 2 Comments

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