I have a confession. I hate to practice. I hate to sit down by myself and work on the technique of playing my instrument. Most of all; I hate timed practice as in “You must practice 1 hour without stopping”. Blech. Practice on a set schedule just so I can play “better”? I’d rather have dental work done.
I’m about as mercenary as musicians come. If I’ve got a paying gig that requires me to learn repertoire, I’m all over it. I can’t stand the thought of showing up and flubbing a performance. A solid goal, like a date on which I will perform a piece in front of an audience motivates me every time. But what if you’re not comfortable playing gigs yet? What if you’re in that delicate beginner phase where you want to progress but don’t feel ready to expose yourself on a stage, no matter how small. For you I suggest the One Week Rehearsal Challenge.
I’ve used this strategy with diets and exercise programs, so I’m positive you can make it work for something fun like guitar. Pick 7 days, one week. Aim for a week as free of stress as possible (don’t try this while breaking off a relationship, moving house or changing jobs). Make a solemn promise to yourself to pick up the guitar and play your favorite next song ONCE EVERYDAY. That’s a minimum, not a limit. Once you’ve got it in your hands and your mind on the song/tune/exercise, work until you’re done. That’s right, only stick with it until you know it’s time to quit. Might be 5 minutes, might be most of an hour; doesn’t matter, you’ve done your daily practice. Pat yourself on the back and go about your other daily activities.
Do this for one week. At the end of the week, you will notice a marked improvement in your playing. After this success, it will be easy to commit to the next week. So commit to just one more week, it was easy last time, right?