How Do You Find Time to Practice?

Grass Meadow

With two small children and a fun but demanding job, how do I find time to practice? The short answer is: I don’t. And it saddens me, alot. Having also just moved apartments and really just settling in, I have to honestly say I haven’t had time to practice more than once a week, usually a short session and often not even that often. When the children are finally in bed and the million chores are done, I’m usually too tired to pick up the guitar and end up with the laptop on the couch blogging instead.

But still, there are ways to find time to practice where there apparently is none. These are some of my tips:

  • Find other ways to learn – you can learn a lot without the guitar in hand. One way is to read up on music theory. Another is by watching guitar lesson videos on your phone on your way to work.
  • Schedule time – the best way of making something happen is to plan for it. If possible, set aside  one night per week where you really practice. It’s even better if you’re in a band with a scheduled rehearsal every week, then there’s group pressure. You don’t need a full band – me and another guitarist have a regular practice time every Sunday (which is sadly a bit on hiatus now). It might seem like a hassle if you don’t have a lot of time, but it’ll be worth it.
  • Get a silent practice rig – although an unplugged electric guitar isn’t completely silent (try practicing it unplugged in front of the TV and see what your spouse/girlfriend thinks), but if you have a rig you can use with headphones you have more potential practice slots. Cranking the 100W full stack when I finally get the children to sleep isn’t really an option, so I play a lot using AmpKit on my iPhone. For the record I don’t even own a full stack. Right now I don’t even own a proper amp – but I really don’t need one.
  • Bring a guitar to where you have time – I bought a cheap strat explicitly to keep at work. If I rush my lunch I get to play for half an hour every other day. It may not seem like a lot, but it beats the current practice time I can squeeze out at home.

So, that’s it for my tips. Bring on your own in the comments!

  • http://www.facebook.com/aj.saunders.18 Aj Saunders

    listening. You should always been listening to music, thinking about the chord pattern, the melody, the arrangement. It will be like a mini class every you put on music. If you can hear when the guitar plays and doesn’t, your playing will improve as you’ll start to mimic this and you’l start listening to who you playing with and start playing off them.

    • http://www.osirisguitar.com/ Anders Bornholm

      Excellent advice! I’ve unconsciously had this sort of analytical approach to listening to music all my life, so when I started playing guitar seriously I found I had a pretty well trained musical ear even though I never practiced music. Nowadays I often find myself thinking about how different guitar parts are actually played in songs I hear.

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