7 Days a wk.
No matter what.
This isn’t the gym, this is guitar.
And your fingers can take a lot more than you’re giving them.
So can your mind. You can study theory when you don’t feel like picking up a guitar.
You can ear train.
There are lots of distractions in this life. You have to be committed to this thing. You’d be surprised what you can get done in 5 minutes. But the good thing about five minutes is that it’s never 5 minutes. And you know it. You absolutely know it. Both you and I know it.
When we pick up the guitar it’s never only 5 minutes. Once we feel those good vibrations from the strings tugging on our heartstrings, we start to feel good. We start to feel the buzz. We start to feel that high and we don’t want to put it down.
Am I right?
Sure I’m right. I’ve had a guitar in my hand nearly every single day since 1997.
Once we pick it up, we remember why we picked it up in the first place. We start working on one lick and then we remember another lick.
Then we remember the chords that we want to practice, or that progression, or that song.
It’s so much damn fun to play the guitar. But sometimes it could be so damn hard to pick it up because of all the distractions in life. We all have to work and we all have to make money.
There are also unexpected bumps in the road such as an accident on the highway… so you get home a half hour or an hour late.
I don’t have a kid but some of you do and your kids maybe they have karate practice. Maybe one of them gets sick. Maybe one of them is hungry.
Here are 4 Solutions to getting rid of distractions and destroying them for good
Write down what you want to accomplish the night before. For example: practice the last section of your song. The last section of a song I’m trying to record is missing a complete melody. So I have to open up Guitar Pro, decide on the harmony and pick the notes that I want over the chords. This is not that hard to do but it is…when you’re not clear. When we’re clear we tend to figure out the fastest way to do things. If we know we’re going to go to the gym and there is going to be traffic on that road but we know a shortcut, your mind immediately goes to the shortcut. It’s the same thing with guitar. When you are clear about what measures need a melody, then you can let your mind go to the quickest way possible. Open up Guitar Pro, decide on the harmony, and put the notes that you want over the chords. Then look it over again, and add some phrasing. You may want to add some outside notes. Or some bends and vibrato to make that section really stand out. But if you sit there and kind of work on that section and then get distracted by the outro or the verse, you’re just wasting time. You’re making it longer and harder for yourself. Solidify that small chunk, that small section of your song and make it the best you can. And keep that practice method for every section of every song for the entire rest of your guitar playing life. Some of you want to make records. You must follow this way.
Become comfortable with the word no. Start saying no. Start saying no more often. Start saying no to the things that give you anxiety and that are not good for you. Start saying yes to the things that you know you need to do. Even if you don’t feel like doing them. And it’s not rocket science. But it is discipline science.
If I don’t use Guitar Pro, my songs are scattered. I have some on my Voice Memos, but I don’t have any mental notes on them and sometimes it takes me a while to decipher a riff that I wrote six months ago. But if I had written it down in guitar pro or add if I had spoken the chords or the riff notes in the voice memo then it would be much easier. I also have recordings on Cubase and Amplitube 4. But this helps no one. Especially myself. I should either have this on tab or on sheet music. And the easiest way to do it is to do it in Guitar pro 7. Either tab for sheet music or both. I’ve written riffs in the past where I have been completely wrong about the time signature but now that I’m used to guitar pro that doesn’t happen anymore. I can easily switch time signatures and it tells me if I’m wrong. If a measure is wrong the notes pop up in the color red. So start saying no to the things that don’t give you that much joy and start saying yes to MORE guitar. It’s also much easier if you want musicians to learn your music. You send the music exactly the way it’s to be played and it can be learned that same day. If not it just delays the process. Nowadays we are lazy as musicians, so actually, this works well against distractions because it saves time. Let’s say you’re driving in your car and you have that riff in your head but you don’t really know it well on the guitar. You think “oh man I can’t wait to go home and play it when I get there, but I don’t know it well enough.” You could then decide to figure out the first 3 bars or the first section. Then, when it’s all clear in your head, you can go and just rip it up and enjoy yourself. There is no substitute for work. So work hard and eliminate distractions automatically, giving you time for improvising doing the day and tending to surprises in your schedule.
Here’s another tip to minimize distractions. Declutter your workspace. Have your little practice schedule book where you write in your victories and your practice sessions and what you need to work on. Have it out on the desk with a pencil. A finely sharpened pencil.
Have your guitar hanging on your wall or on your stand. Do not put it in its case. Thats for traveling and you’re not traveling, you are practicing right now. Make sure your strings are tuned. If a guitar is missing a string… fix it immediately. Have your bed made. If your studio is a mess and that’s where you practice, clean that shit up. This is probably the worst culprit causing distractions. You got magazines on your bed, your beds not made, you got your video game console and the games spread out over the top? They are scattered all over the place so you see one and then you get excited and then BAM!… there’s a distraction and you don’t play guitar. Have your stuff organized. Have your music out somewhere easily accessible. Your laptop is fine for this. Lastly you could essentially let all these things be your distractions. Or you can just all fuck them in the ass and practice anyway. Practice your guitar no matter what. If you do one thing today its…practice your guitar no matter what.