Updated: Oct 1, 2019
Do you have the time you need?
Do have the space you want?
Do you enjoy your practice?
If your answer is no to any of these questions, then chances are you're struggling with moving forward in your endeavors.
For a musician, it's important to practice. Without practice your skill diminishes, and your music suffers.
For an artist, it is vital to practice. Without practice your soul suffers. Your soul wants to grow, but without practice the soul remains the same- and feeling stagnant is debilitating for an artist.
Life is all about change
One might say...."Yes, life is all about change, but more often I see changes I don't want. Time is hard to come by, growth happens slowly! The time and effort don’t always feel worth results achieved. Is it even practical to try?"
The answer depends upon whether you believe in the possibility of your own growth.
Does this have anything to do with music? What’s the point?
What’s the point?
The point is that the inevitability of change is something that can work for you or work against you. We can set ourselves up for failure by not preparing or we can set ourselves up for success by practicing for the best days yet to come.
The way to set up for success is to set a goal and commit to achieving it. Don't set goals that are too big to believe in, and don't set goals that are too little to believe in either. Set a small goal that is achievable. You should set goals that are just beyond your current ability. Your goals should be challenging, but they should also provide you with an opportunity to embrace your work, enjoy the practice and see results. If you aim too high, you'll go straight up, then you'll come straight back down, and you won't be any closer to your goal. If you aim too low, you'll crash and burn sooner than later. If you aim for a target just beyond your current reach, you might not get a bull's eye, but you'll be closer than you are now. Take aim, you might get a bull's eye.
Embrace the work, enjoy the practice
If you think you are a beginner, don't try to play the whole song. Just focus on succeeding to make the change from one chord to the next. Each chord should sound clear before moving to the next.
If you think you are an intermediate player, focus on mastering one position before the next. Practice ascending and descending. Start with a comfortable tempo, then increase it slightly over time. Stay focused and relaxed throughout the practice.
If you think you are an advanced player, focus on learning about melody and developing meaningful phrases instead of getting faster.
Don't ask what's next until you have achieved your first goal. Take a rest and then go practice. When you achieve your first goal, set another one.
Time and Space
You need time and space. Make a space. If you have a spare room then dedicate it to your practice. If you have a spare closet, dedicate it to your practice. If you have an empty space in the corner of the room, dedicate it to your practice. If you don't have a space, your first goal is to find a space.
You should dedicate a space for your practice. Your space should have some sense of order. Clean your room before you practice. If you share a room, and your roommate is messy, then clean your corner to create a sense of order for yourself. If you clean your space, and create a sense of order for your self, then you will feel good about coming to practice.
Time may be harder to come by. It's ideal to have at least an hour a day to practice. You might spend a few moments ordering your space, deciding what to practice and creating a goal for that session, and then spend about 45 minutes on practicing. If you can't practice for at least 45 minutes in one session per day, then you will have to be creative with your time.
Get up earlier, go to bed later.
I'm not recommending that you start burning the midnight oil. If you usually go to bed at 10 pm, then make it 10:30. Start getting ready at 10 pm, order your practice space and practice from 10:15 pm to 10:30 pm, then go to bed.
Get up the next morning 30 minutes earlier. Your practice space should be ordered from the previous evening. Practice for 15 minutes and then move into your day. This way you can get at least 30 minutes a day. If you practice 5 days a week, then you are getting almost 3 hours of practice in per week.
Commit to your goal.
Set small goals. Write them down and post them in a place where you can see them every day.
Trust the process
Practice, then rest, then practice.