Practice is the single most important factor in becoming a good guitar player. These days, most people don’t have a lot of extra time for hobbies. Work and family obligations keep them occupied so that learning and improving on the guitar often take a back burner. With a little creativity, however, you can find more time to practice. And with some attention to what you’re doing, you can milk those practice sessions and get more out of them.
Guitar experts differ in their recommendations about storing the guitar. If you keep it in its case, it will protect the instrument, but you might be less likely to pick it up for a few spare minutes of practice. If, on the other hand, you have a stand or a wall hanger for your instrument, you can pick it up any time you go through the room. Just keeping the instrument available has helped many people get more minutes of practice in.
If family concerns keep you from finding time to put in a half hour or hour of serious practice, maybe there are ways you can incorporate your guitar practice into your family time. Teach the kids some simple songs and practice playing the guitar while they sing with you. Most modern families don’t have enough time doing things together anyway. Make family music time a priority and you’ll be nurturing relationships while improving your guitar playing skills.
Of course, spare minutes and sing-alongs, while they do make a difference, will never take the place of concentrated practice. Concentrating when you practice, that is, being “all there,” is necessary for acquiring those more demanding skills. Take the time to work out those scales and tabs you are interested in. If you attend to the music properly, it will probably be very hard for anyone to distract you while you’re practicing.
If you happen to be a young person who’s reading this, be encouraged! While you’re young is the best time to learn the guitar. Not only are your hands less likely to get tired or cramped and your mind less likely to forget what you learn, you also probably have more spare time than the adults around you. It’s also likely that you have more passion for your chosen music. Use these factors to your advantage. Don’t let yourself get distracted by amusements to the point that you neglect to put the time in practicing. When you are older and loaded with responsibilities, those guitar skills your learning now will still be with you, and will enrich your life.
If this doesn’t describe you, however, and you’re already loaded with responsibilities, it’s not to late to acquire guitar skills. Look on your practice time as a therapeutic break from the routine of life and give yourself permission to enjoy yourself.