5 Reasons Why You Lack Motivation To Practice Guitar And Struggle To Make Progress In Your Guitar Playing

by Tom Hess


Are you feeling less motivation to practice guitar lately? Most likely if you have come to this page, you have felt frustrated more than once with slow progress during your guitar practice sessions. Fortunately, you are not the only guitarist who goes through this. Every guitar player (regardless of skill level or experience) struggles at one time or another when learning how to practice guitar effectively.

After teaching over 1,000 guitar students, I have found that there are many reasons why guitarists may lack motivation to practice. To help you overcome this problem and learn to practice guitar more effectively, I have put together 5 of the most common reasons why guitar players struggle with their practicing.

Reason #1: Not knowing what to practice on guitar.

Most guitar players are unsure about ‘what’ to practice and make the mistake of working on way too many things at once (most of which are totally unnecessary). This is usually done with good intentions out of high enthusiasm for playing guitar, however this approach leads to overwhelm from having too much material to cover in your guitar practice sessions. If you don’t know exactly what you should practice on guitar, it’s hard to find the motivation needed to practice guitar effectively. To understand more about what you need to practice on guitar for yourself check out this page about musical goals.

Reason #2: Not having an effective guitar practice schedule.

Most guitar players don’t know how to create an effective practice schedule. Many ‘think’ that they know, but the reality is completely different. One of the most common mistakes guitarists make when creating a practice schedule is attempting to “equally” divide their total available practice time among the items they plan to practice. This is similar to trying to cook a meal by using every ingredient in exactly the same quantities, without considering how each ingredient affects the taste of the food. Guitar players who practice guitar in this way end up “over” practicing some items and “under” practicing others.

Another typical problem that guitar players run into when practicing (without realizing it) is gravitating naturally towards working on the skills that they “want” to practice while mostly (or completely) ignoring the things they “need” to practice to reach their specific goals. The result of this is something I see very often when I begin to work with a new student: their musical skills are often severely out of balance and their weak areas hold back their ability to apply the skills that are already well developed.

I could go on and on writing about the various mistakes that guitarists make when creating their practice schedules, but it would be better for you to evaluate your own ability to do this for yourself. Take this test about creating guitar practice schedules and I will give you (for free) specific feedback on the areas where you need work with making your practicing more effective.

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Reason #3: Not enjoying the process of practicing guitar.

Contrary to popular belief, practicing guitar is NOT boring ‘busy work’. If you think about your guitar practice sessions with this negative mindset, then you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what practicing guitar is all about. You will be able to maintain high levels of motivation to play and practice your instrument when you learn to achieve consistent results from your guitar practice efforts. To do this, you need to not only design your practice schedules to be highly effective but you also must know how to have fun in the process of reaching your musical goals. When you have the tools to design such an effective and inspiring environment for yourself, it will become easy to find motivation to practice guitar and you will not be distracted by short term frustrations of not being able to play something as well as you want. Over time, you will start to see your guitar playing challenges as ‘opportunities’ for you to enjoy the process of learning how to get better at guitar.

To help you learn more about this topic I have written another article that talks more specifically about the best guitar practice methods. Read it to learn more about how to solve this problem in your guitar practicing.

Reason #4: Not seeing the big picture.

Fact is, it takes a long time to get really good at guitar. If you want to become a great guitar player, you will first need to understand your own musical goals. After you are clear on what you want to achieve on guitar, you will need to design your guitar practice sessions as stepping stones to reaching the goals that you have set. Imagine each guitar practice session as a piece of the puzzle that ultimately makes up the big picture of your musical dreams. The more you understand what the big picture of your guitar playing goals looks like, the easier it will be to design the practice schedules that will help you make that vision into reality and the easier it will be to find the motivation needed to practice guitar effectively.

Reason #5: Not having perseverance in your guitar playing due to expectation of instant results.

Even if you know how to practice guitar effectively, big results will not happen overnight. Unfortunately for most guitarists, if they don’t see instant (or at least very fast) results, then they will quickly abandon one guitar practice method in search of something else. As a result they never have a chance to experience the benefits of “consistent” practicing. Jumping from one guitar practice approach to the next is similar to starting to watch 10 different movies and stopping a few minutes into each one before you can understand what the movie is about. When you practice guitar, you must give time for any method to start working for you before you can intelligently evaluate its effectiveness.

What should you do now?

By now, you should have a clearer idea about why you struggle to consistently find motivation to practice guitar. Analyze your guitar practicing efforts to determine if any of the problems listed above apply to you and begin to implement the suggested solutions in your future guitar practice sessions. Although the list above is not an exhaustive collection of all the problems you may run into in the process of developing your musical skills, if you apply the suggestions given in this article you will start to experience faster results from your guitar practicing and you will begin to enjoy the process much more along the way.

To get a better idea of what you need to practice on guitar, check out this page about reaching musical goals. In addition, if you haven't taken the free test about creating guitar practice schedules, I highly suggest you do so now.


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