Staying Musically Motivated on Guitar...

Motivation is an easy feeling to lose!
It can be easy to lose motivation when learning to play guitar. Sometimes it might feel like you can go days, or even weeks, without any real 'noticeable' improvement. The thing is, every time you practice guitar you are improving, its just ridiculously slow. What is extremely important through the process however, is developing a way to focus on what exactly you have achieved through each practice session - rather than feeling disheartened that you are failing to become the kind of player which you're striving for.

Playing mental tricks on yourself...
Here is a simple idea, every time you have finished playing guitar and put it back in the case, think about what you have developed in your playing that day. No matter how small, or insignificant it may seem.

Maybe you were learning a song and you've committed some (or the whole song’s) chord sequences to memory. Maybe you've just focused your entire practice session on the guitar solo, and have been able to play a few sections of it up to a decent speed. Maybe something felt easier with a chord grip, or a movement into a scale run. Whatever you have noticed in regard to improvement, it is definitely worth taking stock in. So, be sure to give yourself a pat on the back.

Are you always trying (or expecting) to achieve too much? 
Maybe you haven’t been able to play through the song yet (as hoped). But, after some rehearsal time, it's safe to say that you can very likely play (at some kind of improved level) the intro., or the verse riffs. It's important to realize that within a few days (of further study) you can expect to have those parts MUCH better! Are you thinking this way right now...? Because this type of thought process is vital for constant reassurance to yourself of these facts. The more you study, the better you get. Just remember that some things take months to develop. Once you understand this fully, your motivation levels will improve drastically.

There is no need or benefit of constantly putting pressure on yourself, just remember to focus on what you HAVE achieved - rather than what you consider to have 'failed' to achieve. Focus on what you want, rather than everything you don't want. This is valuable advice in the achievement of long-term success. Too many times students place all too much of a focus upon all of the things they cannot do and are in effect "blind" to all they are fantastic at!

Never hold a defeatist attitude toward guitar study.
Some students will give up before they even start! If something was too challenging such as an Tony MacAlpine solo, it is important to accept that your approach may need to be very different in order to learn to play it. The thing is everybody is capable of learning to play a technically challenging solo as long as they are willing to spend enough time working on the various techniques, fingering and picking patterns. And, (of course), breaking down the solo into bite size sections to work on.

Could this mean it might take a REALLY long time to learn? Absolutely! It means that it could be months or even years, rather than hours or days! But, even the most average of player CAN get there in the end. The key factor will be whether you have the determination, organization and drive to continue to focus on every small achievement along the way.

Into the future...
Remember that by picking up the guitar again tomorrow, next week, or whenever, you have already overcome failure. Keep playing and most of all remind yourself regularly why it is you wanted to learn guitar in the first place.

Guitar is attractive to so many people out there, because playing it, not only looks fun, its meant to be fun and it is something you can spend a lifetime improving on.

So keep in mind that you never need to put tons of pressure on yourself! This instrument is primarily about having a really good time. Hold an attitude of fun inside your mind for guitar study. If you can do that, then this crazy carved out piece of wood with metal wires on it, (that we think is so cool), will be something amazing to mess around with every day... and not just that, with the right motivation 'strategy' you'll be drawn to it each and every day.


  1. Really good thoughts.

  2. Nice post! Been playing for 25 years and I lost motivation quite often, putting pressure on myself because I can't find enough time to practice, because of work, family, whatever. One thing that got me back on track was to practice something different everyday, it makes practice fun and I'm really progressing too!