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In my 20-something years of teaching guitar, one of the funniest things a student ever said was, “I didn’t practice because I couldn’t find where my cleaning lady put my guitar!” Somehow, I don’t think the kid really tore apart his house looking for it. But it’s an original excuse, I’ll say that!

What I hear more often is, “I didn’t get as much practice time as I would have liked.” We can all relate. The days shoot by, especially when you’re “adulting.” You really want to pick up the guitar but, but, but….

And even with the perfect teacher, YouTube videos, books, magazines, a sweet guitar collection…you STILL have to put in the regular practice time.

So I’ve learned to tell each new student this: finding time to practice is actually The Challenge. It’s MUCH harder than making good music on the guitar. Think about that for a minute. If you actually had 6-8 hours a day to do nothing but practice, you’d make incredible progress. (And develop carpal tunnel syndrome. That’s why you study with a instructor.)

Carve out those minutes (and hours) during each day and making music turns out to be kinda easy after all. But we all know finding the time feels near impossible.

Here come two key words: Sacrifice and Discipline. You’re going to have to cut back on some fun stuff and move your guitar playing WAY up the list.

There are things you can’t sacrifice. Family always comes first. Job comes second, darn it. Guitar has to be third. Keeping it as a priority is where Discipline comes in.

You may need to look back at other times when you’ve dug deep and found the discipline to succeed. Finishing yardwork, finishing a 10K, or finishing your thesis, it all takes discipline. And you won’t make much headway on the guitar without it.

Can you play before work in the morning? Can you leave a guitar in your office? Can you play at lunch? Designate a Practice Hour after dinner? Maybe practice while your spouse is out of the house doing something they love? Mute the TV and play during the commercials? I understand that you will shoot down a lot of these suggestions, but I’m not giving up on you that quickly!

Because you’ve read this far, so you’re not giving up on me.

But let me be clear: if you don’t practice an hour a day, you won’t be happy with your progress. And even with teachers and videos and books you’ll simply learn a lot about the guitar without getting the satisfaction of making music. And we don’t want that.

So take a cold, hard look at your week. Make some choices. Either you’re doing this or you aren’t. Hey, you got to where you are in life by buckling down and doing it, right ? So none of this is really news to you.

Next there’s the trick of using that time wisely.

Zip back to Blog #2 and you’ll find my tips on structuring your practice time. And Blog #1 will show you how is set up for you to quickly locate the videos you need.

You can do this!! Rock on,