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Sticking with Your Musical New Years’ Resolutions

New Years Musical Resolutions

It’s that time of year again. After all the holiday parties, cookies, champagne, and quality time with friends and family, it’s the time of year where we turn to introspection. As musicians, that generally means at least one of our aspirations is to improve our abilities. But, as we all know too well, wanting to get better at something and actually executing on that desire are two separate things. Today, we are going to talk about some methods we’ve had success with for sticking to those musical resolutions.

  1. Discipline is more important than motivation. Let me explain. Motivation is when you hear your favorite song and then pick up the guitar. While we’ve all been there, this is different from setting aside a time everyday for dedicated practice. In short, excellence is a habit and it is best to do a little every day, at the same time, to show progress. Start now by setting aside a small amount of time every single day. It is encouraging to achieve that goal and will make you want to slowly extent that time as you hit your goals.
  2. Deliberate practice will help you improve faster than screwing around. K. Anders Ericsson has done a lot of research on how to get better at a skill. In this case, the best way to get better at guitar or any other musical instrument is to single out what you are trying to learn, and relentlessly try to master it. This will improve your musical abilities the fastest. You can see the full reasons here. So, while it is natural to get inspired and pick up the guitar to try to learn to play that catchy riff, most days you should stick to a structured lesson plan where the goals are clearly defined and the practice is created to support those goals.
  3. Remove the excuses from your playing. If you find yourself making excuses for the reasons you aren’t practicing, systematically address them one at a time. Find you’re missing your lessons due to time constraints? Invest in flexible online guitar lessons. Do you not pick up your guitar enough at home? Instead of hiding it away in the case, make it easy to access by putting it on a stand so you can pick it up frequently, even if for only a few minutes at a time. Need to keep it quiet to accommodate neighbors or sleeping family? Play unplugged or through headphones. You get the idea. If you really evaluate your excuses, you’ll find most have solutions.

As we head into 2018, try to to an analysis on what is keeping you from attaining your musical ambitions and address a small facet of it. Those changes you make will compound, and you’ll find yourself making significant progress. Good luck!

5 Reasons You Should Learn to Play Guitar or Bass

1. Goodbye to Boredom

Guitar is so extremely versatile and easy to pick up and play. Well okay, maybe it’s not so easy to play in the sense that getting good will take time, persistence, and practice, but it’s easy in the sense that having one (or 10 lol) in your home is easier than, say, a huge cumbersome drum kit. Especially these days where 3/4 scale guitars (basically just reduced size guitars) are so common. Instead of binging Netflix all night, if you’re bored you can pick up the guitar and pull up either some online lessons or tabs and play. When you’re ready for it, you can even join up with some friends and all of you jam together, or get a little more serious and start a band.

2. Increase Your Music Savvy

Playing guitar will make you more knowledgeable in music theory and composition. You know that friend that can make intelligent comments about a piece of music by singling out an element and dropping some cool knowledge or theory on it? Well, that could be you. Your sense of rhythm will also improve, so maybe, just maybe, your moves on the dance floor during a night out will improve.  Heck, even your singing and pitch could improve! We of course make no guarantees 🙂

3. Stress Relief

We speak from experience here. If you’re stressed or have anxiety, playing guitar is an amazing outlet to relax and calm yourself. Whether you actually play relaxing music (think Jack Johnson) is up to you – sometimes some hard rock or metal is necessary to express that anger or frustration you’re holding in. There have even been some studies that a guitar playing session before a night out leads to a more confident, more relaxed person.

4. Build Self-Confidence

Building on the last point, playing guitar can be an awesome way to increase self-worth and self-confidence. Really, any new skill can achieve that to some extent, but there has always been an allure to wielding a guitar. Look at rock stars over the ages, how they drip with swagger and confidence, and how the audience swoons when they’re on stage doing their thing. It’s difficult to replicate that feeling with other hobbies. Even if you don’t talk about it with people, the fact that you know that you can play guitar can lead to a pep in your step and a subconscious boost that will propagate into anything else you do, and social interactions.

5. Mind/Body Workout

Learning to play a difficult skill like the guitar will flex the muscles in your hand, but also in your brain. You will be forging new pathways in your mind, it’s akin to learning a new language. And no, you are never too old to start! If you think that you’re too old to be any good at guitar, you are sabotaging yourself before you’ve even given yourself a chance to start. We can’t promise playing guitar will lead to a six-pack of abs, but your brain will certainly be developing and forging new connections, which undoubtedly has far-reaching benefits.

Tuning with YouTube

If we’re ever in a pinch in and need to tune up and YouTube is nearby, this is our favorite tuning video. What’s annoying is that you might have to wait for an ad to play before using it. It has been viewed tens of millions of times, and the comments on the video are hilarious if you want to waste some time 😀

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