Episode 32 of the Bite-Size Guitar Podcast looks at how you can find more time to practice guitar. If you feel like you’re not practicing enough or you can’t find time to practice guitar, this episode will give you some ways of finding time in your day to pick up your guitar.
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Check out these resources to help you get more out of your practice sessions:
- How to Plan a Guitar Practice Routine
- How Long to Practice Guitar
- Planning a Practice Routine – Episode 17
- Practicing Without a Guitar
The above guides will give you a good starting point to getting more out of your practice time.
Podcast Episode 32 Transcript
Hi, I’m Aaron from guitargearfinder.com and this is episode 32 of the Bite-Size Guitar podcast.
In this quick episode, I’ll go through how to find more time to practice guitar. If you’re having trouble sticking to a regular practice routine or you feel like you’re always too busy to pick up the guitar, this episode might help.
Everybody is different and has different time commitments to work, school, family, and other things, but almost everybody is able to find enough time to consistently practice guitar every day.
Look at Where Your Times is Spent
Having no time to practice has always been the top excuse some of my students give me when they arrive at a lesson saying they haven’t practiced.
Everyone tends to feel that they’re busy, but it isn’t until you take a close look at their daily routine that you start to notice that there are a lot of opportunities to practice.
The starting point for finding time to practice is to take a close look at what you’re currently spending your time on and whether any of those things aren’t as important to you as your guitar playing.
The chances are, there will be something you spend time on that isn’t really important to you that you can replace for time practicing guitar.
For example, maybe you have a routine where after you eat at night, you sit and watch a few episodes of a show on Netflix. You don’t really think about it, you just automatically jump on the couch and binge some episodes.
If that sounds like you, what you could try is to sneak in some guitar practice before you settle down to watch your shows. You know you probably won’t practice guitar after you finish watching your show, so slipping in some practice before you start is a good idea.
Outside of sleeping, eating, and work or school, what are you spending all of your time on?
This can be hard to answer and it often surprises people what they spend their time on when they start tracking it.
On a lot of smartphones, there will be some sort of screen time app that lets you know what you spend your screen time on. Check your phone and see how much time you spend using different apps.
I’m always shocked when I ask my students to look up their screen time when they say they don’t have time to practice. They’re usually shocked as well.
When you see that you’ve spent one and a half hours on social media in the last day, it suddenly puts things into perspective. Apps like social media are designed to be addictive and get us to spend as much time as possible on them, so don’t be surprised if your screen time shows a big number when you check it.
Swapping some time you would normally spend on social media for picking up the guitar becomes easy once you know how much time it eats away from your day.
I’m not going to tell you what you should or shouldn’t spend your time on. All I’m saying is that if you do see that you spend a lot of time using certain apps on your phone each day, think to yourself whether you’d be happy to give up some of that time and use it to practice guitar instead.
If you really feel like your days are out of control, you might want to get an app that tracks the time you spend on different activities during the day. I’ve had a few adult students try this out and they were surprised by how much time they spent on things they didn’t really care about.
Once they identified these time-wasting activities, they found it easy to replace those activities with playing guitar. Try out a time tracking app if you feel stuck and see how you go.
Practicing Without Your Guitar
Now the best way to practice guitar is when you have a guitar in your hands. But there will be times in your day when you’re away from your guitar, but you have some spare moments. You might catch a train to work, you might be in a waiting room for an appointment, or maybe you’re just on your lunch break and have a few moments.
There are ways you can put in some solid practice without having your guitar with you. In fact, in some ways, the practice you can put in without your guitar will often be more useful than your typical practice routine.
You can spend time memorizing chord diagrams, visualize the fretboard and try to memorize the note positions, you can spend time with an ear training app and work on your listening skills, you can study music theory, there are a lot of things you can do without your guitar that can have a big impact on your abilities.
I’ve written an entire guide talking about how you can practice without your guitar and why you should do it, so check out the page for this episode for full details.
The key point to remember is that all of this practice counts. If you spend an hour on the train going to and from work every day, you can use that time to help you with your guitar skills.
Or even if you just have five spare minutes, if you get in the habit of using those spare minutes in one of these ways, that time quickly builds up.
Check out the guide to learn a few ways to get started.
Make the Most of Your Practice Sessions
Okay, so you’ve taken a look at your typical routine to find time to practice, and you’ve added some practice whenever you’re away from your guitar but you have a few spare minutes.
What else can you do?
Well, it’s worth talking about what you do when you actually are able to sit down with your guitar.
Do you make the most of the time and put in a solid practice session? Or do you find that most of the time you’re mucking around loading up guitar TABs, tuning and retuning your guitar, or just noodling around not sure what to do?
If you feel like you’re not getting enough practice in, take a look at your practice routine to make sure you’re not burning through your time with things that don’t make a difference.
If you take a close look at what you spend your practice time on, you may find that some of the things you work on aren’t actually important to you, or you keep working on something that you don’t need to work on anymore.
Quite often when a student tells me they spend an hour practicing every day, when we take a look at what they spend that hour on, not much gets done.
If you want to get more out of the time you have to practice, you need a solid practice routine. A practice routine is a plan you can follow so as soon as it’s time to practice, you have a step-by-step list of what you should work on and how long to spend on each thing.
It’s amazing how much of a difference a written out practice routine can have on how much you can get done in a short amount of time. If you don’t already have a written plan for what you want to practice, read the guide on my website on how to create a practice routine. You can also listen to episode 17 for advice on this topic.
The key point to take away is that you don’t want to waste the time you have. If you only have ten minutes available each day to practice, that’s plenty of time to make meaningful progress. But only if you put those ten minutes to good use.
Ten minutes of solid practice with a well-thought-out practice plan is far more useful than an hour of mucking around with a guitar in your hands.
Everybody has busy lives in one way or another. It’s normal to feel like you never have enough time to practice. But if guitar is important to you, you can find time to consistently practice almost every day.
This week, take a look at what you’re currently spending your time on and think about whether you could use some of that time for guitar instead of what you normally do.
Use a screen time app to see how much time you spend on your phone, tablet, or computer. Once you see much much time you burn on different apps, it’s normally pretty easy to swap some of that time for guitar practice.
Finally, when you do get a chance to pick up your guitar, take a close look at what you do with that time. Are you making the most of your practice time or is a lot of that time wasted? It’s okay to spend some time just relaxing with your guitar, but if that’s all you do, don’t expect to make any big improvements in your playing.
Develop a solid practice plan and you may even find that you can spend less time practicing and more time just enjoying your guitar.
I’ve included links to useful guides on everything covered in this episode at guitargearfinder.com/podcast/episode-32
Read through the guides and try to challenge yourself to practice every day this week.
Even if you can only sit down for five minutes, those five minutes can still have an impact on your progress if you make the most of your time.
Good luck practicing this week and I’ll talk to you next time.