It is said that, “Guitar is easy to learn, but very difficult to master.” Often in your journey towards guitar mastery, you hit a plateau and your motivation starts to dwindle down. You keep practicing the same stuff every day, and wonder why are you not making any progress or you don’t feel like playing at all. Many of us have been there. But no need to feel it that way, because below we have listed some ways (19 to be precise) for you to get back on the saddle, and gallop your way to the guitar wizardry that you always dream of.
19 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Practice Guitar
- The cool sounding stuff is easier than it seems: Pinch harmonics, pick slides, hammer-on pull-offs, single finger taps, etc.
- Learn catchy parts and play them like you've made them.
- Pose with a guitar and play something you know well.
- There is always going to be someone just a little better than you who you can outplay by practicing just a little bit more.
- Get a rival. If there is something I've learnt from pokemon, comics, movies, life experiences, academics, bands, etc. that can boost your abilities, it is this. Get a rival and compete.
- Record yourself.
- Play small things and master them.
- Track your progress.
- Try difficult things: analyze them, break them into smaller parts and play them.
- Play a known song along with the original audio.
- Compose something and keep refining it.
- Watch better musicians. Go watch concerts. Take interest in other guitarist's passion in playing.
- Complete challenges like figuring out parts by ears, playing to a certain tempo, learning complicated licks, etc.
- Do what other's think is a challenge (It is reassuring to know that other's feel you have good abilities).
- Get a good tone. Nothing can be worse than a bad tone. If you sound bad, you aren't going to enjoy what you play.
- Don't play for too long if you are struggling to play something. Fatigued muscles are a huge turn-off. If you are finding something difficult, wait for a while (few hours to 2-3 days, 1 night is perfect as the REM cycle during sleep helps learning automatically) before you attempt it again. You'll have a higher success rate in playing difficult things and keep you motivated.
- End your practice sessions with something you can play. Ending the practice with unsuccessful licks and chops can demotivate you if you have been trying them for a while. End on a positive note (pun not intended).
- Practice for 10-40 minutes at a time, not more. Take a break of a few minutes and return to practice. If you have defined work to do such as composing, learning parts to session for someone else, practicing your band's songs, learn new techniques, etc. set goals which can be achieved in up to 40 minutes and work on them.
- Always take sufficient gaps between practice sessions, even if you are a professional. Man needs healthy breaks, attention span is low and monotony is food for getting bored of practise.
Hope these suggestions will help you get out of the rut, and inspire you to practice the beautiful instrument. And if you ever feel like giving up, remember,
"Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you'll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you're gonna be rewarded."
– Jimi Hendrix
[The article is written by Aditya Shukla (Founder, The OWL), the suggestions were originally written as a Quora answer.]