“I didn’t have time to practice”


ffffThrough years of teaching guitar and of course from my own personal experiences I believe there are two basic types of excuses we all use to sabotage our success. Time and money. “I don’t have time” or “I can’t afford it”. I think we can safely say that for most of us our lives are ruled by these two factors. In this blog I want to talk about time. By recognizing when you use the time excuse you can better prepare and hopefully eliminate its dream killing influence.

The 10,000 Hour Rule 

The 10,000 hour rule says that you can reach the elite master level of almost anything with 10,000 hours of practice. That is over an hour a day for 20 years. Of course you may not plan on being an elite master but it highlights that practice is the key ingredient to achievement no matter what gifts you may or may not possess. Almost any music teacher will tell you that the most common first words from their students at the beginning of the lesson are “I didn’t have enough time to practice”. Many students will be apologetic but even worse many teachers will just accept the statement by replying with “No problem, let’s just have a look at what you did anyway”. The problem with this is simple. If the student does not practice they will not progress. Most teachers accept the student did not have time to practice feeling powerless to help. So what is the solution?

A student who does not progress will ultimately give up

Very few students will continue lessons for more than a month or two without practice. In fact lack of practice is often an early indicator of a student who is about to give up guitar. In this case the student needs to be challenged on their statement of “I didn’t have enough time to practice”. When we say we don’t have enough time what we are really saying is we have not budgeted the time necessary to practice. In this case I will say to students “Let’s have a look at your practice schedule”. I will then run through the week and we will decide on a rough schedule. When they arrive at their lesson each week I begin with their Practice Log. If they say they didn’t have time to practice I will revise the schedule and point out that practice is a requirement and that is important that they make the time before we can move forward. Students quickly understand that I am not going to accept their money unless I can get results. Anything less is deception.

It’s all about priorities

If you’re serious about learning guitar try to eliminate the time excuses right from the very start. There is always time if it is important. If your schedule is truly that busy that you do not have 30 minutes a day to practice guitar you may need to reevaluate your goal of becoming a guitarist. At least for now. At the very least discuss your schedule with your teacher to see if they can help or feel free to email myself.

David Hart – Program Director


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