How To Increase Your Motivation To Practice Guitar

In order to help you increase your motivation, I have created a list of the 5 most common reasons why guitar players are unable to get great results when they practice guitar.

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Are you currently having trouble finding the motivation to practice guitar? If so, you are certainly not alone. All guitar players struggle to maintain high levels of motivation for guitar practice at one point or another. In most cases, this occurs from various misunderstandings of how to practice guitar effectively.

As a guitar teacher, I come across all kinds of guitar playing issues through my guitar students. Over the years, I have noticed that most of my guitar students have very specific reasons for why they lose motivation for guitar practice. In order to help you increase your motivation, I have created a list of the 5 most common reasons why guitar players are unable to get great results when they practice guitar. After reviewing the list below, take the assessment mentioned at the bottom of the article to evaluate how much you know about practicing guitar.

Reason Number 1: Not Sure What Needs To Be Practiced On Guitar

The majority of guitar players do not know exactly what they should be practicing and why they should be practicing it. This causes them to attempt learning as many new exercises on guitar as possible without any direction. By practicing so many different ideas for guitar at once, it is easy to become overwhelmed. This happens because most guitar players simply do not give themselves enough time to fully process all the new information they are learning.

If you are unsure about what you need to learn on guitar, it will eventually become difficult to maintain your motivation for guitar practice. To solve this, think about your goals as a musician, then make a list of the items you need to learn to reach those goals. These items should be the big picture focus around which your practice sessions are based.

Reason Number 2: Unorganized And Ineffective Practicing Habits

Most guitarists practice in a totally unorganized and ineffective manner. Unfortunately, they are usually unaware of this and go for weeks, months, or even years at a time using the same ineffective guitar practice methods! One example of a commonly used, yet ineffective method is the idea of using an equal amount of time on every task in your guitar practice. This is just like trying to prepare a dish by using an equal amount of ingredients without thinking about how each of the ingredients will affect the taste of the food. This guitar practice method will cause you to spend too much time on things that are not important to your overall guitar playing progress.

Another mistake that guitarists make during their guitar practice is that they spend a lot of time focusing on the guitar skills they WANT to practice rather than the guitar skills that they NEED to practice in order to achieve their musical goals. This causes their guitar playing skills to become imbalanced. As a result, their weak areas tend to hold back their ability to apply their well developed skills in musical situations.

In order to make progress in your guitar playing, it is essential to learn how to correctly allocate your time among your practice items (the assessment link at the bottom of this article will help you with this).

Reason Number 3: Not Having Fun With Guitar Practice

Many guitar players have conditioned themselves to believe that guitar practice is nothing more than a boring set of repetitive tasks. If you have this mindset, you are truly misunderstanding the basic idea behind guitar practice. In order to gain motivation to practice your instrument, you must learn how to create an effective practice schedule that helps you enjoy the learning process as you work toward your guitar playing goals. Once you obtain the right tools to create a such a highly productive and inspirational practice schedule, you will find it much easier to have fun with the time you spend practicing guitar. As time goes on, you will begin treating guitar practice as an opportunity to improve on your instrument in order to play music the way you always wanted rather than as a mere obligation that you must complete each day.

Reason Number 4: Not Focusing Enough On Long Term Goals

It takes many years to become a great guitar player. If you want to become a great guitarist, you must clearly determine the best paths to take in order to achieve your long term goals. Once you have clearly identified your long term music goals, you will need to focus on using your guitar practice time effectively to reach them. To do that, think of your guitar practice sessions as individual pieces of a puzzle that make up the big picture of your musical goals. The better you understand the big picture of your guitar practice, the easier it will be to create effective guitar practice schedules. Additionally, as you begin to "put together the puzzle" and make progress you will become more motivated to practice guitar.

Reason Number 5: Losing Motivation Due To Lack Of Quick Progress

Even if you understand the best way to effectively practice guitar, you will not achieve big results overnight. Many guitar players expect instant results when using a new practice method. Unfortunately, when they do not get the quick results they are looking for, they end up abandoning (what might be) a truly effective guitar practice method. This results in inconsistent guitar playing progress since you do not give yourself the time to get the benefits from the guitar practice methods you use. This approach to guitar practice is like reading ten different books and stopping a few pages into each one before you have time to understand the story. While practicing guitar, give each method time to work (or not work) before deciding to move on to something else.

What Should You Do Next?

After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of why you have a hard time staying motivated in your guitar practice. Think about how the guitar practice solutions mentioned above can apply to your current practice routine. Even though this article has only touched on a few of the problems that you might face as you develop your guitar skills, your guitar playing will benefit greatly by applying them in your everyday practice.

To learn how to create highly effective guitar practice schedules and to test how much you know about practicing guitar, take this free assessment for guitar practice improvement.

About The Author: Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and the guitar player for the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He teaches guitar players from all over the world in his online guitar lessons. Visit his website to get free guitar playing resources and to read more guitar playing articles.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Want to increase your motivation for practicing guitar? Buy a looping pedal.
    Best idea ever! I picked one up a few years ago. I was wondering whether to buy the RC-20XL or the PH-3 phase shifter. I first of all bought the phaser and then went back the next day because I couldn't live without getting the loop pedal. That was a relatively expensive week when I only worked part-time.
    Any brand names you suggest?
    The Boss Loopstation series is one of the best on the market. Go on youtube or boss' website to check out some videos. They're kinda pricey but, well worth the money. You can really progress in your practice with one of these. Nanashi - Second Place - BOSS Loop Station Japan National Finals This dude cracks me up. But, it's a good example of what you can do with one of these...
    My Last Words
    I love guitar but lack the discipline - which is neccesary for correct practice - thus resulting in a shitload of frustration. It leads up to days where I look at my guitar and think "I will never learn how to play this devil-made instrument" Sometimes I have good days.
    Yup yup. My friends n i comment on how its the devils instrument all the time. It is just so darn tough. It is frustrating to suck but when i look back on where i used to be i realize that your time spent really pays off. It just takes too long.
    James Scott
    Cool article Tom. What I would add to #4 is that you should include non-musical goals as well as strictly musical ones. Why do you want to be a better guitar player? What in your life are you trying to achieve with your guitar playing? Without a firm idea of what being a better guitarist will do for you it's easy to quit when things get tough. The times in my life when I was most motivated to practice were those where being a better guitarist brought me definite benefits in my life: bonding with my dad when he taught me to play, having the other kids at school think I was cool, impressing girls, being able to join a band and perform, then to become a professional musician. When those things didn't matter, or weren't happening, my motivation and work rate dipped. Once you have a clear understanding of how you want your guitar playing to improve your life in ways other than simply playing better guitar it's MUCH easier to motivate yourself and link the work you are putting in to rewards that matter to you.
    I also find that a good way to stay motivated to practice is to leave guitars out! I leave 7 of my guitars out so that I will pick them up at any time and play them. It might not do too much for the guitars but I do make sure to fix/cure any problems with them when re-stringing (which occurs once every 2 months).
    Agree hey. I pick my guitar up all the when its right there. If its in its case I slack off.
    Yeah. I bought wall hangers for my guitars.
    Really need some of them, I'm running out of space so fast; if they didn't keep making these guitars so tempting then I wouldn't do it. I blame guitar companies.
    Loop pedal is a great idea I'm going to get one. Also healthy competition between other players is good, keeps you wanting to show off new songs/skills. And dave grohl said something like.. for me its not trying to be the best guitarist/drumer ever, its about being the best at the what i do and how i do it (sound city) and that is good motivation. Also i recommend the movie sound city, its 18$ CND on itunes.
    I'd say if you don't have motivation to learn/practice guitar, you don't really want to learn guitar, and you shouldn't learn guitar.
    Practice should be fun! No doubt. My practice 'routine' involves a couple beers and pandora/the radio/youtube. This method teaches you *songs*, helps you learn to anticipate chord changes in real time, figure out how to turn mistakes into opportunities, move around a bit while playing, and improvise rhythms based on what's playing. And it doesn't feel like work!!
    Somehow, I have never lacked motivation for my playing; I have always lacked time. I have enough inspiration in all the musicians I see on the internet (Yngwie, Buckethead, The-guy-from-Betchacantplaythis-who-plays-with-5-left-hand-f ingers and whatnot) so I always have some new stuff I can practice. And when I get bored of it, I start improvising over some sad, bluesy backing track... I use the guitar to ventilate all the emotions that I can't get out in a common way. I love my guitar
    This pretty much hit the nail on the head for me. It's like you've been watching me be poor at the guitar for these last 6 years! And when practice is unproductive or I feel i'm not doing very well, I tend to just put it back on the stand and walk off. One thing I found is rather helpful is to have a guitar out of its case in an easy to access place. Extra set up/ inconvinience can often drain motivation quite rapidly. When the guitar's out you just pick it up, sit down and you're good to go!