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The Art Of Practicing, Part 7: Boredom and distractions

Kategori: The Art Of Practicing

You will sometime probably encounter one of the most common problems with practicing - it´s boring. What shall you do when you don´t want to practice, but know you need to? There´s solutions of course, and I will present some of them here.
Sometimes it´s all in your head, you´ve built an image in your mind that when you´re going to practice your instrument it´s going to be boring. Why not hang out with friends, play video games or something else that is fun instead? The trick here is to sit down, grab your instrument and start practicing. Because once you do, you´ll often find that it isn´t boring to practice on your guitar, it´s just the road to get there that can be hard. So whenever you feel that it´s hard to take those steps to your practicing area and pick up your guitar, think about how great it usually turns out once you start practicing. Erase the image in your mind that equalizes practicing and boring, get down to business and start having fun with your instrument. And if you don´t succeed, think about the fact that it will always be more fun to play an instrument when you´re getting better at it. There´s few ways to get better at playing an instrument than to practice.
But when you´re stuck in a rut and the practicing in fact gets boring? Try to think out new ways and be creative with your routines - play a scale backwards, jam with some new backing tracks, discover new sounds, change the rhythm of an exercise. Be creative! Practicing isn´t boring, you´re the one who´s making it boring. Now make it fun again. Switch on your inner child and explore your instrument and it´s possibilities. Maybe you´ll find new ways to practice that will create great results or maybe you´ll see that your old practice routine wasn´t that boring after all. Creativity isn´t forbidden when practicing, it´s instead often rewarding.
Sometimes it´s easier to practice when you build certain routines around it. One example could be to always wash your hands before you´re going to practice. Then your mind will get into the mode when it knows "Okay, now I´m going to practice the guitar" and already before you´ve picked up the instrument you´ll be in the right frame of mind. Also make sure to sleep well and eat well, take care of yourself. A famous commercial says "You´re not you when you´re hungry", and there´s a truth there somewhere. 
Sometimes it´s the feeling of knowing that you´re going to practice something hard that makes you not wanting to pick up your guitar. This happens to the most of us. Try to think that this is the natural state of things - before you can do something it seems hard to do out. But once you´ve mastered an issue it´s easy to do it. A child will think it´s hard to walk before it learns to walk, later on it´s a piece of cake. It´s hard to swim before you´re mastered it but once you do, it´s easy. That doesn´t mean that you´re finished though. You can always get better at swimming, and in fact walking too, and every time you do it you could consider it practicing. You will pass this hard musical passage too, just put in enough training and do it in the right way. Pick up your guitar and start mastering it.
Also, get rid of distractions. They can be caused by whatever - a messed up room, a computer or people. Clean up your room where you´re going to practice, so that it´s all about the guitar. When you´ve learned something new from a piece of paper, make sure the paper gets filed in somewhere. Presuambly somewhere where you can find it easy again if you´ll need it. A system where you know where everything is will benefit you, then it´s up to you to create a system that works for you. And turn off that computer, or cellphone, or whatever. If you´re not using it in your guitar practicing then it´s just a distraction. When it comes to people it´s a bit harder. People will always distract you in different ways. Something that someone has said to you can go round and round inside your mind. Negative people can bring you down (and should be avoided as far as possible). Different emotions created by people can distract you from what you´re doing. When you´re practicing the guitar, try to wipe all of this out. Get into a mode where it´s only you and the music that matters and lock out all other thoughts for the time being. Focus on what you´re playing and not on thoughts of other stuff. This can be really hard and takes a lot of work, but it´s worth it. After the practice session you will come out fresh with a new frame of mind, which hopefully will be better than the one you wiped out before you started playing. One great way to do this is as I earlier stated - create rituals around your practicing. Before starting out, do something that you always do. It could be whatever, like tuning the instrument, feel the instrument, wash your hands or drink a glass of water. The important thing is that it works for you.
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