Most guitar students have good intentions when starting out but over time the motivation tends to fade but why don’t we just stay motivated? We still love music and we still want to play but our motivation for practice tends to wane over time. I wanted to understand this question so many years ago I began to explore the reasons and what I found was very interesting because the answer was obvious yet most people are unaware or don’t do anything about it and the result is they quit. This is especially true of guitar students.
The main reason we lose motivation
What I found was the initial inspiration for learning guitar was no longer present so as a result the interest in practicing guitar fades. For example you may have gone to a concert, purchased an inspiring album or were inspired by a friend. As these inspirational events or people disappeared so does the interest in practicing guitar.
The chocolate cake
Think of passion for anything in terms of food. What if I offered you a delicious piece of the best tasting chocolate cake ever. What if I put it right in front of you. 10 seconds before that moment you probably had no desire for chocolate cake. Now your mouth is watering and you simply can’t resist. This is how motivation works. If the events that created a burning desire to learn guitar are removed your motivation to practice will also disappeared. We are largely motivated by what is in front of us.
So what is the solution?
Think about daily tasks you take for granted like taking a shower each day, brushing your teeth or commuting to school or work. Overtime these tasks become automatic and we are almost like robots not even realising we do them. Guitar practice initially begins as mostly a choice but if you stick with it for a few months it will soon become a habit. By the way I am not proposing that your guitar practice becomes a robotic daily chore. Your practice should always be mindful and deliberate but the routine of sitting down and practicing each day needs to become automatic.
Staying motivated early is the key
If you go through the motions of inspiring yourself like the daily shower you will want to practice and your practice will be inspired practice. The best kind. But how? Give yourself a few months to condition your new behavior but to make sure you get through this phase you need to stay motivated. Here is an example of how to stay motivated. Do the following prior to your practice each day;
- Listen to at least 3 of your all time favorite guitar tracks.
- While listening close your eyes and imagine you are the guitarist and its you playing on stage in front of an appreciative audience.
- Now think about the fact that your fans are relying on you to deliver. Each night you have to practice at least 30 minutes to ensure your performance goes smoothly. If you miss your practice you will need to cancel the concert. The band and your fans depend on you.
Do this visualisation exercise everyday for a month and I can almost assure you that you will soon find yourself motivated to practice daily. Remember to focus on the motivation first and the inspired practice will follow. After all it was when you were inspired that you decided to take up guitar. The practice should be driven by inspiration and inspiration begins with your imagination. Nothing great ever comes from the uninspired or unimaginative.
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