"Even though you're growing up, you should never stop having fun."
- Nina Dobrev
So many times we are told that once you get past your teenage years it's time to step up and be a man or woman.
"You'd better assume your responsibilities, young one."
"Now the real deal starts."
Haven't you ever received such kind of advice?
In a nutshell, what they want to tell us is that the fun is over and it's time to work. Well, at least that's the only thing I can understand judging by the sheer amount of people who tell you that kind of BS.
Yes, it is BS.
Where is it written that you can't have fun?
If you don't like what you are doing, then why are you doing it at all?
Guest blogger Tom Boddison takes us on a trip down memory lane to learn how we can turn guitar practice fun. It's great advice for anyone who either feels like they've lost the motivation they once had, or to those who want to make sure they do it right from the beginning so they don't ever lose it. It's surely going to make you reflect.
Off you go, Tom!
In an ideal world, this article wouldn’t exist. It wouldn’t need to.
Having fun on the guitar would already be the number 1 goal of every player out there, and everyone would be achieving it.
After all, that’s the whole point of musical instruments – they were invented to help us relax and have fun after a day at work.
The problem is, we’ve got to a stage as guitar players where “getting better” is more important than playing for the Hell of it.
Go to any internet forum and you’ll see people talking about “How to Improve Discipline” and asking “how do I make myself practice more?”
And then self-proclaimed “experts” reply with “well if you wanna get good, you GOTTA have discipline. You’ve just gotta do it”… what? Whatever happened to putting enjoyment first?
Everyone’s so preoccupied with progress that they forget to enjoy the process!
Fun – The Ultimate Foundation for Success
Now I know what you’re thinking; “yeah, but if I wanna have fun then I have to practice to get better. If I don’t get results I get bored”
But here’s the thing: If you put fun first, results will come even faster.
You see, fun is the main ingredient in fast learning. When you’re enjoying yourself, your brain is in the ideal state for learning new skills.
It’s engaged, it’s focused, and it’s ready to learn; you’re in the perfect mindset to form new neural connections and take on new challenges.
If you’re bored, it’s the opposite. You’re gonna have a hard time learning something if the process isn’t engaging. It does not require discipline to be a good guitar player; it requires a mindset focused on pure enjoyment and the ability to enjoy the process.
Everyone focusing on discipline and treating guitar like a job is barking up the wrong tree.
Focus on having more fun! The process of learning the guitar will be massively more enjoyable, which in turn will make you do more of it, which’ll mean you get more results, which will make it even MORE fun, which’ll make you do more…
…and before you know it you have a guitar addiction and you’re on the easy path to success!
1) Make Fun Your Priority
This is by FAR the most important tip in this article.
Fun should be your number 1 goal on guitar; if this is the case, everything else will follow easily.
Every time you play, ask yourself this: “am I enjoying it?”
If the answer is "no", stop! Forget it. You’re missing the whole point of guitar.
Feel like forgetting scales for a day, turning your amp up loud and rocking out? Then do it! Forget the practice schedule and just jam, playing along to your favourite songs and messing around.
Be like a little kid again. Forget all about “results” and make fun your priority.
The ironic thing here is that you’ll actually get better results by doing this. Putting fun first makes you get more progress than you would if you put progress first. Strange, but true.
Find ways to make even the “boring” stuff fun. Even scales can be exciting if you focus on enjoying the practice; which brings us on to the second point…
2) Focus on Your Goals
If you’re really inspired by the thought of Angus Young, then don’t bother learning the Phrygian dominant scale just because someone told you to.
Learn the things that are most relevant to the type of music you want to play.
Set yourself fun, inspiring goals. They don’t have to be elaborate; “I wanna play a bit like Angus and a bit like Rory Gallagher, but in my own style” is good enough. Remember, we’re doing this to relax and enjoy it, not to achieve targets at work.
Then, go for it! Learn as much as you can about that style of playing, and make fun the priority.
Get immersed in the music, and rock out to it whenever you can. Make sure everything you learn is directly related to this style.
Then, it’s all fun – even scale practice is enjoyable because as soon as you master a new shape, you can use it to make more cool sounds in the style that you want.
Don’t let a teacher force you down the path of grades, or jazz theory, unless it’s relevant to wh