How to make practicing enjoyable

Back at ya, Roger! Worrying about how fast I am learning something is a mistake I frequently fall into. Gotta remember that everything is on schedule, regardless of the pace.

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I already sound like John Prine…before he could play guitar, like maybe when he was 5 yo…

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I wholeheartedly agree. Yet for me it took some time to realize this. I had been burning so brightly ever since I had joined the community in May last year and had picked up my guitar again. On vacation days and weekends, I have been playing for hours and hours… I was so ambitious, had started too many different things including PMT, Strumming SOS and Chris Liepe.

So, there I was out on the country at some point in August… On vacation. Of course my acoustic had been packed and was easily in reach. And… I did not play, not one note.

So, there I was with my four remaining Grade 1 consolidation songs. I could play and sing all of them. Yet, I wasn’t able to play any of them by heart and none of them some sounded as good as I wanted. Practicing had become more or less a chore, until it stopped entirely around the time of my vacation week in August.

After a few weeks had passed, I set myself the rule that I may only pick up my guitar again, when I really feel the desire to do so, when I really want to. I told myself, this point would be reached when my subconscious would tell me so, and that this point would be reached when I would see a dream at night about playing guitar. That happened a few days before Christmas.

So, here I am now. I play guitar, because I want to. If that means being stuck with cowboy chords for he rest of my life, then it is like this. I play guitar, because I want this in my life.

For the first time, I am practicing consistently on workdays. This means that I have to get up at 5:30 at the latest every morning to get in 30 min practice time before I have to get ready for work. But for the first time, I’m enjoying practicing on workdays and don’t perceive it as a chore. I’m enjoying it and for a short moment this morning I thought “hey… that actually sounded musical”.


I do think that when people who have got beyond that initial beginner hurdle just say pick up your guitar and play to this question, either they never struggled with guitar or have forgotten the struggle. When you’re struggling to make A, D and E sound good and even play a simple rhythm there’s nothing appealing about picking up the guitar again.

Unfortunately this is where a bit of blind faith is required, that it will get better if you stick with it. Don’t try to over-complicate with complex rhythms and don’t plough on with extra chords but try to stick with it just a bit longer. The more you try to add in, the longer it will take to get things sounding reasonable. Notice the small improvements you’ve made, and try to take something from that. You’re undoubtedly not as bad as on day one and have almost certainly made some progress from a week ago

Regardless of how “noble” my interest sounds, I did, and from forum comments, many of seem to, go through a pretty long period if struggle, almost to the point of considering giving up.

I definitely understand why people do. The first several months, maybe even up to a year, were a honeymoon period for me. Enthusiasm was high enough to not really worry about anything (once past the finger hurt).

But somewhere in there comes a reckoning. The “oh, this is hard and going to take a long time”. The gray zone between blissfully ignorant excitement and the realization that you aren’t Eddie Van Halen.

I feel like that was where I had to rearrange my mental approach so it didn’t become a chore. Fortunately for me, I came around, but I think many people don’t.

A chore is something that just simply has to be done or there will be consequences in your life. You may not mind, or even enjoy, some chores. They do have positive impacts in life. But if “chores” are what you live for, something else is off.

A hobby is something you choose to do because you enjoy doing it, regardless of how good you are or if it produces a marketable end product.

Guitar playing should not be a chore.


This really hits a key issue for me: balancing music as fun (playing with friends, jamming at a local bar, singing for my mom on her birthday, belting out a song I’ve known forever, etc,) and music as work (the daily discipline of doing exercises, learning new techniques and new songs, gradually building my skill set). It’s easy to let one side dominate, but I’ve come to believe that both are essential in my musical life. And of course, they complement each other: work is fun (if you do it right) and fun gives the work meaning.

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Me too. I’ve got down far from me and I remember everything pretty well now starting on Summers end. I can capture the spirit pretty well but I haven’t come close to matching John’s fingerpicking style …probably need to just start with some generic Travis lessons.

Well, let’s say there are days when work is not as much fun as it it could ideally be :nerd_face:

You are addressing an important issue however

I’m next to 99,99% sure that I would not have ended up leaving my guitars unplayed for many weeks, if I would have guitarplaying friends with whom I could practice and with whom I could jam etc.

Even during my playing break, I have never lost my love for music. Belting out songs when there was noone else in the office anymore (I hope) or in the car… Oh yes :smiley: :laughing: :grinning:

There are some well done lessons on JP songs at

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I’m sure, too, that I would have given up guitar long ago if I hadn’t found some great “guitar buddies”, as Justin recommends.

Just subscribed. Thanks!

That’s what it had been becoming for me, I suspect I just hadn’t been practicing songs as much as I should after I got to Grade 2, and everything seemed to get a lot harder. I realized in late autumn last year that I was finding excuses not to play, whether it was housework, or needing to walk the dogs, etc. Even though the holidays were hectic in late December I started concentrating on mainly songs and just doing a random exercise or two, like C major alternate picking once in awhile.

Since the beginning of January it started being fun again, I was rocking along to the songs on the App and the other day, added another song into the mix when made me realize I needed more work on the F barre chord changes and a couple other things so I added them back into my practice routine. So, I’m going to continue the song practice while adding in the things I need to work on for a particular song.

Maybe this way I’ll finally get out of Module 10, I’ve been here for months.

And it feels good I can say I’ve played every day this year and enjoyed myself 95% of the time! :smile:


I enjoy selecting a wide variety of songs and use Justin’s explanation of 3 types of songs:

  1. Songs I know well but could still improve around the edges
  2. Songs that I am getting to know but still need more improvement from me
  3. Songs that are challenging for me.

I try to divide my practice time with these types in mind. It is also a nice reward when I improve at a specific song so that I can move it to a different type. It also prompts me to add a new song that is a challenge.