7 Ways to Make Guitar Practice Sessions Productive and Fun by Jules Fitzgerald
No matter how serious or motivated you are to learn to play the guitar, there are times when you may feel so-so about practicing. It can feel like a chore, and you may want to rush through it, not really giving yourself enough time to fully ‘absorb’ what you’re doing.
That’s alright. It happens to the best of us. What’s important is that you try again. The next time you practice, you do it better. It helps if you have a good guitar from the start, something that’s comfortable and easy to play. There are many great starter guitars, like the Jasmine S34C, Fender FA-100 and the FG830 acoustic by Yamaha.
When you’ve got your guitar ready, here are some ideas to make those practice sessions fun so you can learn more and look forward to the next sesh.
1. Challenge yourself to learn something new every session. Not an entire song right away, but something more realistic like a new scale, a song section or strumming pattern. Write down these ideas in small pieces of paper and put them in a bowl or box. Every session, pick one!
2. Practice in a different way. There are many guitar exercises for beginners and there are many ways to do them. You can even ‘invent’ your own exercises! This will ensure that you do the exercises you actually enjoy.
3. Time your practice right. When are you most mentally sharp and focused? If it’s early in the morning, then that’s when you should practice. Even 30 minutes of practice before preparing for school or work can make a huge difference in your playing skills after a week.
4. Choose a conducive space. Many beginners practice in their bedroom because it’s quiet and lets them concentrate on the task at hand. If it’s the same with you, then go ahead. Whichever space you designated to be your practice area, make sure it’s a place where you won’t be bothered.
5. Take breaks! We’re not just talking about 5-minute breaks during practice sessions but breaks where you don’t practice for a day. A day off from guitar practice can be refreshing and can actually motivate you to do your best the following day during practice time. Go to a concert or a gig, see a movie about music, go on a day-long soundtrip - these are all fun activities that can help you find inspiration to keep on playing.
6. Check out apps. There are many apps designed specifically for guitar beginners. Many provide tips, exercises, daily challenges and so on. Aside from these, there are also apps that let you play beats (like a drum machine) that you can use to improve your timekeeping skills. If you find metronomes too boring, then a drum machine app can make you feel like there’s a drummer actually backing you up.
7. Track your progress and give yourself stars. Remember your kindergarten days when your teacher would give you a star for every achievement? Well, this is your chance to relive those carefree days where you get rewarded for your accomplishments! List down your goals for the week (or the month), track your progress for each and give yourself a star for every goal achieved. When you’ve accomplished everything, create a new list of goals and reward yourself - a guitar strap perhaps, or a mini amp.
Those are our tips for making guitar practice not only productive but fun as well. We especially love the last one, because seeing all those stars on our goal board keeps us motivated and makes us look forward to the big reward at the end. What other tips can you suggest for beginners? Share them with us!