Food For Thought, Ses­sion Shenani­gans, Jam Tracks tips, One-Minute Lick and more.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS - Get more info and links to re­lated lessons on all Justin’s GT ar­ti­cles at www.justin­gui­­mag

What can we do if we start to fall out of love with play­ing guitar? I sus­pect the most com­mon rea­son that peo­ple do is frus­tra­tion or feel­ing lit­tle progress is be­ing made. You can only play that favourite riff so many times be­fore it gets bor­ing and it can be very hard to find your way out of rut with­out the right tools. But luck­ily the right tools for this job are free and easy. Tool 1. Change things up A change is as good as a rest and this is my pre­ferred tool for main­tain­ing in­ter­est in play­ing. If things are get­ting stale, I com­pletely change what I’m work­ing on. If I’ve been play­ing a lot of blues then I’ll start dig­ging into some jazz, or acous­tic fin­ger­pick­ing; ex­plore ef­fects or try some new the­ory idea. What­ever it takes to fire up the pas­sion again. Tool 2. Re­fine your goals Long-term goals should be fluid and flex­i­ble and of­ten if you find your­self in a rut it’s worth check­ing in with your long term-goal and see if it’s moved, changed or if you can try a dif­fer­ent path to get there. (Check out the Ef­fec­tive Prac­tice se­ries on my web­site). I’ve found my­self a cou­ple of some­times falling out of love with mu­sic, not just guitar, and that’s pretty scary for a pro­fes­sional! I have heard many stu­dents say that they’re strug­gling to con­nect, but again we have an ef­fec­tive tool... Tool 3. Ex­pand your lis­ten­ing Seem a bit ob­vi­ous? Maybe, but it’s some­thing very few peo­ple ac­tu­ally do, and with the ad­vent of stream­ing ser­vices like Spo­tify and YouTube it’s never been eas­ier to ex­plore new mu­sic. Start­ing with an all-time favourite on YouTube and then check­ing the sug­gested videos can be a good place to start. I like the sug­gested playlists in Spo­tify too - or you can find me on Spo­tify and find some of my ‘favourite guitar mu­sic’ playlists. Tool 4. Dig deeper If you re­ally don’t fancy go­ing too far away from your cho­sen path, then dig deeper into it. Pick your all-time favourite artist, find a com­plete discog­ra­phy and lis­ten to the stuff you’re not so fa­mil­iar with. Or read a bi­og­ra­phy or find in­ter­views and dis­cover out who they like and try that. I found this route a great tool for find­ing in­cred­i­ble new mu­sic. I’ve had stu­dents say that they just don’t have time to play (work gets in the way or ‘life takes over’), but in truth it’s more likely that mo­ti­va­tion is down: what about that 15 min­utes you wasted watch­ing rub­bish TV when you could have been play­ing? There’s a tool for this sce­nario too... Tool 5. The forced five min­utes Find­ing 30 min­utes a day to prac­tise can be tricky, but find­ing just five should be easy for every gui­tarist. When I’ve used this tool, those min­utes have flown by; I of­ten find that I play a lot longer be­cause I’m en­joy­ing it. There should be noth­ing set, the aim is just ‘play around and have fun’ – the real mean­ing of play. It can be a great rut buster. Tool 6. Take some time out It’s also fine to have time off – with­out guilt. I’ve of­ten found that tak­ing even as much as a month off seems to have helped things fall into place when I came back – how­ever, do ex­pect to need some time to get the mus­cles work­ing again.

Well I hope th­ese tools can be use­ful if you find your­self falling out of love or strug­gling to make time for our six-string friend. I think it’s quite nor­mal to have times when you’re not prac­tis­ing as much, but it can be help­ful to recog­nise it and have some tools to help you get back in the sad­dle when you want to. Safe trav­els my friends.

Justin has six great tools to in­spire you to keep prac­tis­ing

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