Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including how to practise when you are short on time, the benefits of reflection, and “pre-warm-ups”.
Here we go…
#1 – Do what you can with the time you have
For some of us, time is very limited.
…But one thing we can always do is make the most of the time we have.
Last week was the half-term school holiday for Archie.
We had a great time going swimming, to a theme park, he played in a cricket tournament (and he hit a big “six” which is like a cricket version of a home run).
Even though I didn’t have much work time, I still got a fair bit done (which hasn’t always been the case in the past during the school holidays).
I found a little planning really helped.
You can do the same on the guitar, especially during really busy periods.
When you know you won’t get much practice done, it’s well worth thinking ahead about what you can get done.
Even just a small amount of “maintenance” practice where you maybe don’t learn anything new, but you keep on top of what you can already play.
That way, you’ll still be practising, getting stuff done, and making small improvements…
…And all without any guilty feelings of not getting loads of practice in.
#2 – Reflection
One thing that is nice to do here and there is to take a few moments to reflect.
I was listening to a podcast the other day.
The fella was talking about how he gives himself a little time each week to reflect on the progress he’s made in the past week.
We can do the same on the guitar.
At the end of the week, it can be super useful to sit back and think about what you’ve achieved on the guitar.
You can look back over the week and even think about just how far you’ve come since you first picked up the guitar.
Chances are you’ve made a lot of progress since then, but it’s easy to forget this, especially when you’re “in the moment”.
Take some time here and there to think about these things.
You can do this weekly or whenever you like.
I find that can be a powerful thing.
#3 – “Pre-warm-ups”
I was reading a good little interview with John Oates from Hall and Oates fame.
They created some great tunes and are in the Songwriters and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
He talked about how he finds it absolutely critical to stretch his fingers before he plays because, as he has got older, his fingers are getting stiffer.
Warming up, of course, is key.
When I was learning, most people talked about playing scales and chords as warm-ups (they still do).
I always found that awkward as my fingers didn’t feel loose enough, and that was back when I was 15.
I find a little warming up of the hands before you even pick up the guitar is key.
Doing things like rubbing them to physically warm them up and get the blood flowing, gently stretching them, and loosening up the joints is all super useful.
That, plus taking some deep relaxing breaths, can all help.
Do that and you’ll likely be better prepared for a good practice session ahead.
I call this a “pre-warm-up”.
It doesn’t take much time and you can do this before you sit down to practise.
There you go.
Three random thoughts this Monday.
I hope you enjoyed those, and for more help with your playing, you might want to check this out…
It’s full of good tips and techniques that will help you improve all of your playing and help you fix the “7 stumbling blocks” that most beginners struggle with.
Have a great Monday!
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.
“Music is a necessity. After food, air, water and warmth, music is the next necessity of life.” – Keith Richards