Hi all,

I've been playing guitar for over 6 years and am not near where I want to be because I've never stuck to a practice schedule. I've made up schedules and goals for myself and haven't stuck with them. I really enjoy playing when I'm doing it, but making myself sit down to a practice session is difficult sometimes, especially now that I'm in college part-time, working 2 jobs, have friends and various extra-curricular activities. Because I'm rather busy I'm generally exhausted all the time but I'm determined to practice at least an hour a day (preferably two) because a) I'm not much of a fan of sleeping. b) I have long-term goals I'm passionate about, such as forming a group with other musicians, recording my own songs on my computer and possibly teaching lessons someday. c) I can't imagine myself not playing music in some form.

So if anyone has any wisdom or tips for me (I was thinking of keeping a notebook/diary thing of what and how much I practice everyday maybe? I dunno...) I'd appreciate it
Play the music, not the instrument. ~Author Unknown

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Iron blimp.
Aluminum helicopter.
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What works for me:

1.) Learn to start liking sleep, and get more of it. More sleep = more energy, focus, and enthusiasm for whatever you're doing during the day. I don't always get as much sleep as I should, and I find that I frequently am too tired to focus on guitar, or play for more than 10 minutes or so.

2.) I'm not much of one for practicing scales and such. My "practicing" is a combination of playing through songs I already know, trying to learn songs I don't know, and writing new riffs/songs. That keeps it entertaining for me.

3.) I go through days where I don't touch the guitar. Hell, sometimes I'll go 2 or 3 days without playing, and occasionally longer. I think breaks from practicing can be good. It can alleviate getting stuck in a rut, and can keep practicing from getting monotonous. And if nothing else, it reminds me that I need to play fairly regularly, because damn do my fingers hurt after I play for the first time in a few days!
Prioritise and motivate yourself. Noone can give you motivation apart from you. If you don't feel like playing guitar, don't play it, simple.
Being in bands motivates me to practice. I have to stay on top of my game to keep my place in the bands.

I sometimes practice my scales while watching tv or something. Other times it's figuring out parts to songs.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Quote by vikkyvik
What works for me:

1.) Learn to start liking sleep, and get more of it. More sleep = more energy, focus, and enthusiasm for whatever you're doing during the day. I don't always get as much sleep as I should, and I find that I frequently am too tired to focus on guitar, or play for more than 10 minutes or so.

i agree entirely with what you ay, and i would give the same advice, buti find im more musically productive late at night, im a night owl i think...

youve got to want to do it. if your not intersted in practising/learning it you just wont learn it, particularly if its a hobby where you dont actually have to. find inspiration in music, and well, when you practise guitar, or write a chord progression, analyse the music theory behind it, even if you already know it. also, write down a plan as to what youre going to practise.

and well...when you walk past the guitar and notice it, pick it up. thats what i do its not a strict schdule, but youve got to remember what drove you to play guitar in the first place. i imagine it was a band or musician. the best motivation imo is probably listening to music.

hope this helps ^^
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when i have nothing to motivate me i sit with my guitar in my arms whenever i'm on my laptop/sofa/etc, even if i don't intend to play it.
eventually, i'll start playing little riffs and scales up and down, and this will evolve into a practice session.
Dude I have the same problem lolz but mines a little different. I can play guitar for an hour or so a day but I never PRACTICE to get better, I always just play along to a song or my own riffs but never try to learn new techniques or that solo I've wanted to try but thought it was out of my league. so I have been playing for 5 years at the end of this year yet some people who've been playing for 2-3 can beat me at solo's or are faster than me xD

1) As far as the problem though, if your like me, and hope to make it big one day and be in a band and tour, then a little motivation for me is watching my Fav bands play, knowing that I can be famous, have lots of money, and hot chicks left and right, if I just practice and become awesome at guitar. Watching live shows and interviews gets me pumped for some reason.

2) Pumping the music loud also might make you practice, I always feel like I'm in the moment when a breakdown comes on if I got the volume halfway, then I just play along with my guitar headbanging

3) Listening to new bands also puts me back on the track.
I never could. now I don't bother, as when I tried to I found myself constantly dissapointed with myself everytime I practiced, which made me not look forward to and enjoy practice and made me less focused when I practiced. Now I write down everything I want to work on in a week, practice what comes up and log what I did.
When it comes to motivation issues, the only thing stopping you is yourself. Try to remember back to why you started playing in the first place. As for me, The thing that motivates me most is the creation of music itself. Anyone can play something that someone else created, but it's a completly different (and more fulfilling) feeling when you write something you you're proud of. Just keeping trudging through the boring parts, and keep in mimd that to get to the good parts, you have to master the boring stuff. Ie scales and practicing chord invesions.
You just gotta prioritize, friend. ^.^

Look at it this way: if there was a pretty girl you liked and wanted to get to know her really well, you wouldn't just say put it off or not commit to it, would you? Because then you would not get to know her well at all!

The same thing with a guitar. She's a lady. If you want to get to know her, you have to spend time with her. The more time you spend with her, the better your relationship will be when you.. *ahem* 'make music together.' >.>

That said, I'm single so take my advice for what it's worth.
Go to music school haha. There's no motivation quite like seeing how burning everyone else is. It's gotten me to college at 7 each morning this whole to practice 2 hours before class starts
well my routine has been changing recently but i never have issues with wanting to play. well, maybe not never. some days i dont feel like it or i get discouraged by having a "bad guitar day". usually on one of those, ill play for a bit then put it away. ill go listen to songs i really like or go look up artists on youtube and eventually ill really want to play. plus the time i spent away from guitar kinda reboots me.

you just have to find ways to get you into playing or to enjoy practicing. for me, most of my practice isnt sitting down and doing drills. most of my practice is and has always been just playing. i still work on things i want to improve, but because its not soo rigid, it still has a creative feel to it and doesnt feel like work. but i still like to get in about an hour of warm ups and exercises and then expand on them in my free play.

also, sleeping and eating proper i find changes how i feel about playing A LOT. on days i dont get sleep, or maybe im not eating as healthy as normal, i feel like crap and i dont feel like playing. so try to get a good solid sleep and make sure you eat well. drink lots of water too. lot of times ill practice with the tv on. i still focus, but its not as mind numbing i find as it is without it. usually in my free play time i dont have the tv on though. only for repeatitive exercises.
Personally, I challenge myself to play something I have never played before the first moments I pick the guitar up, and then try and take it somewhere. This clears my mind of everything and helps me put my hands, heads, and heart together in the moment.

Sometimes it's pure magic, and other times when it's not, but every time it still pulls all those things together and makes for a pretty good sit-down with the guitar from that point forward.
A love of music and a love of the instrument. And striving to improve constantly and be the best I can be.

All the motivation I need.
These days, it can no longer be about guitar for me. It's too ..... ahh, what's that... to unstable.

It has to be more about self discipline and self improvement and searching into yourself through music and focus to see what kind of person you are, and to hone the mind and spirit.
Don't tell me what can not be done

Don't tell me what can be done, either.

I love you all no matter what.
Quote by MarshmallowPies

So if anyone has any wisdom or tips for me (I was thinking of keeping a notebook/diary thing of what and how much I practice everyday maybe? I dunno...) I'd appreciate it

I find that if I set myself a goal and it gets me out of my comfort zone, it's hard to stick to a practice routine. To stick to something and see it through you have to have 1) intense desire, and 2) be consistent. But most of all, break big goals down into smaller easily accomplishable ones!

If you set yourself a practise routine, say, you tell yourself you should practise half an hour each day, chances are you will give up after a couple of days or. Suddenly you feel you /have to/ do something rather than /wanting to do/ it. That takes all the fun out of playing and the natural reaction is to give up.

It's better to sit down for 10 minutes a day each day and practise than sitting down for half an hour or an hour if the former means that you can keep it up for months on end. See http://www.theloneguitaristblog.com/motivation/3-time-proven-ways-stick-practice-routine/
Quote by youngangus69
A love of music and a love of the instrument. And striving to improve constantly and be the best I can be.

All the motivation I need.

This right here.

I've never really had an issue with motivation because my love of music and of the guitar have always driven me to do all of the practice I need.

Early on I realized that there was no hurry, that the things I wanted to achieve musically were going to take a lot of time. That realization turned practice time into a means to achieving my long term goal. Once that happened, I never lacked the motivation to practice. I consider anytime I pick up the guitar and play to be practice. I would jam with anyone who wanted to jam, whenever; I would play while reading, watching TV; I would play to blow off steam and relax; I would play to improve coordination and strength. All of these things were motivating enough because I knew that one day, they would bare the fruits that I wanted so badly. 6 years later, I consider myself to be a pretty decent guitarist, and now, I ****ing love to jam. The end result of all of that practice was extremely fulfilling and worth the time.

That being said, I wholeheartedly believe that jamming with other people is by far the best kind of practice you can do. If you are lacking motivation in practicing then you need to go find other people to play with. That will motivate you for sure.
There may be times when it is impossible to prevent injustice, but there should never be a time when we fail to protest it.

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I fall in the exact category with DavidTerrawr...

For a very long time, all i've ever been doing is picking up the guitar and just noodling around and never getting any real practice done. Only till recently I began to rethink about my approach to it and i've realized some things...

Playing by yourself at home all the time WILL get boring eventually... Playing with other people tends to show you all your weak points (even if you know you just aren't confident playing with other people and just screw up because of that) it will encourage you to really go back home and practice so next jam session you won't be as clumsy.

Trying to learn too many things at once... One thing i've realized is that, I may know a lot of riffs to different songs, alot of which I can't play very well, and if I were to try to play a couple and realize I can't play it as well as i'd like it gets frustrating really fast as it kinda piles up on you (the number of things you can't play very well) so it's better not to worry too hard about not being able to play alot of things at once and just to focus on maybe one or two things you REALLY want to learn and put most of your effort on those things.

Bad practice... I get really frustrated when I realize i've been practicing something for a long while and it seems to be going nowhere... alot of times I practice my stuff really badly... (ie not taking my time to practice it as SLOW as possible without making any mistakes) this imo is really important because I have a tendency to try to speed things up after I kinda get the "hang" of how to play it but not actually mastering the part... hence my fingers get used to all the wrong movements because i'm trying to play it above my level. So it's better to take it slowly and tell yourself there is no rush... this will calm your mind alot. Just take your time... practicing something as fast as possible WITHOUT error is the best way to go...

Too many exercises... I used to spend nearly ALL my time just practicing exercises... I thought this was THE way to go but it gets really boring really fast... Alot of songs can be used as exercises themselves and are alot more fun to spend your time practicing on (and it's also something to look forward to :P )

Just my thoughts really
My form of "practicing" has always been through learning songs I like...and continually trying to challenge myself with new songs that are slightly out of my comfort level, and improving from there.

There are certain things that you have to just sit down and memorize...like scales and chords...but once you learn those, the best way to put them to practice is by learning songs, and studying how and why the chord changes and solos within the song work the way they do.

Want to improve your legato? Find a song you like that has legato that is slightly above your skill level, and learn it.

Want to improve your sweeping? Why sit for hours and practice boring sweep patterns? Find a song with a solo that has sweep patterns that are a little challenging for you, and learn it.

I'm also of the opinion that playing along with recorded songs will improve your timing just as much as sitting with a metronome and counting out beats while playing chords, or working up and down scales. Why not have fun with it, and improve your timing by playing with actual music that you like?

I think too many people trap themselves in the box of laying out a "practice schedule" and they burn themselves out on the guitar. Why do that when there are so many songs out there to learn, and at the same time improve your playing without mindlessly working up and down scales, chord progressions, arpeggios, sweep patterns, etc?
^ i +1 to most of what he said. although im working on sweeping now and no way can i sweep as fast as some of the songs i enjoy sweeping in, so i can't really play along i can see something like that being a problem for different techniques, but its nothing you cant woodshed up to speed with a metronome

as for me, i don't have a practice schedule, its something that i always want to be better at so sitting and sweeping up and down patterns in a key is educational as well as fun to listen to. basically the more you feel like you're "forced" to do it, the more you'll generally not want to. if you can make up musical type exercises, things that are fun to do and listen to then you'll probably find practicing more enjoyable as its less of a chore and more fun.
Watching guitar covers on youtube has always given me motivation... and more than anything my dream of one day playing leads in a death metal band.

I have never had much trouble sticking to a practice schedule though. Even if I don't want to play I force myself, be it an hour or two....

Being a good guitarist is a major undertaking and just like any other major undertaking it takes a lot of discipline and perseverance. A lot of days, even though playing guitar is one of my biggest passions I find that it comes down to me just forcing myself to play no matter how bad I don't want to.

I have found that the more I practice, the more I want to practice...