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How do you motivate yourself to practice the guitar? Guitar takes patience, perseverance, and dedication to achieve results. Motivation is an elusive quality. It must come from within, and it must be sustained. What steps must you take to motivate yourself to practice the guitar on a regular basis?
If there is one thing that will get you to practice regularly and consistently, it would be this….a vision.
If you can envision it, taste it, feel it, drive for it, you will pick up that guitar all the time and play. The hard part is coming up with the vision that burns hot enough inside to get you to play everyday. Become attached to that vision, and believe that you can attain it.
A very common phrase associated with guitars is that they “sit in the corner and collect dust.” But why? Yes they can be difficult to learn in the beginning, but you can not go from zero to guitar hero in a day anyway. It takes months of dedicated practice, years of patience, a lifetime of dedication…..right?
Can you perform a lifetime of dedication in a day? NO! So there lies the paradox. A lifetime of dedication or years of practice, only exists in small increments. That is where having a vision comes into play.
Let’s say your vision is to learn a couple of your favorite songs to perform for some friends and family. Every time you pick up the guitar, that should be right there with you. You are acting out your vision and getting closer to it. Set small practice goals that are orientated towards what your vision is.
When I was young, I wanted to learn how to solo like Kirk Hammett from Metallica. I heard the guitar solo for the song “One” when I was 7 years old, and that very moment was a turning point for me. At 12 years old, it worked out that my hands were only big enough and strong enough to do single note passages so after mastering every little riff and guitar part my Dad and cousin had shown me, and that includes the pentatonic scale, I would play them every single day again and again, seeing myself getting faster. I would focus on the goal, knowing that each day I moved forward another step, but never getting frustrated that I had not gotten there yet. I focused on each practice session as if I already had attained the goal, knowing that one day I would hit the jackpot.
If I made mistakes, I would try to figure out the problem and then fix it. Practicing is about playing correctly, not playing fast. So I would hammer out my problems again and again. All the while, I would have this vision in my head of me wailing these guitar solos.
And I did that EVERYDAY, I kept that vision with me every day as it became closer to reality. And I did it! That is what a dream is, something that you create in your mind and keep pushing for every day until it comes out of your head. And you know what, I did the same thing when I wanted to learn every Randy Rhoads solo, and Steve Vai Solo, and Joe Satriani solo.
I have since strived for other goals but that is the beauty of goals, they are not set in stone. What’s the old saying “Shoot for the moon and don’t worry if you miss because if you do, you still land in the stars.”