Eddie Van Halen is noted for having a guitar in every room in the house including the toilet so its no coincidence that he became a guitar hero. Jimi Hendrix use to sleep with his guitar. While this may seem a little obsessive having your guitar in a place where you can easily pick it up and practice will in fact increase the odds of you practicing. In one study they found that when food is placed on a table within arms reach (e.g. coffee table) compared with a place that requires standing up and walking over to it (e.g. the kitchen bench) it is far more likely to be eaten. Fast food restaurants profit not from our love of their quality food but from the ease and convenience of purchasing it. Quick service and drive throughs make it all too easy or at least it seems that way. When it comes to making decisions we will choose from the choices in front of us. We are simply creatures of convenience so if you want to succeed at anything make it convenient to do the work required. Putting your guitar on a stand next to your desk or bed opposed to leaving it in its case in your cupboard will almost always result in two or three times more practice.
Human brains are wired in such way that we form habits. This has obvious benefits. When we learned to tie our shoe laces or throw a ball or ride a bike we don’t have to go through a series of steps to execute each time. Neural pathways have been created that automatically tell us what to do. We can focus on the tennis game we are about to play as we tie our shoe laces. The same is true of guitar practice. Do it at the same time, same place each day and I can assure you the habit will form soon enough. The secret to learning guitar is forming the habit and the secret to forming the habit is to keep your guitar front and center.
So go on. Give it a go. What do you have to lose? Buy a guitar stand and keep your guitar next to you favourite place. Lounge room, bedroom or wherever you hang out. Give it 6 weeks but force yourself to pick up the guitar each time you see it and watch what happens. Let me know how it goes…
David Hart – Program Director
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