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In a survey I did recently I asked this question. What’s your biggest frustration with strumming? And here’s what Stephan from Australia wrote.
“My biggest frustration with strumming guitar is lack of time to practice.”
I know you just said…”ME TOO!” after reading that. Let’s see if I can help you solve this common problem.
…I have an evil plot to slow down the rotation of the Earth and give you 4 more hours in a day…wouldn’t that be nice 🙂
Have you heard the age old Rock, Pebble, Sand story of time management? I’m going to tell you how this can be applied to your guitar practice in a minute.
But first, watch this short video. It gives you a good visual demonstration of the whole idea if you have never heard of this classic time management concept.
So in a nutshell think of the time available in your day as a jar. Rocks represent the most important things you should be doing with your time, and should be put into the jar first. Pebbles represent the next most important things that can fit between the big rocks.
Sand represents less important things that you can use to fill in the smaller cracks between the rocks and the pebbles. And you can even take it one step further and add water to fill the space between the sand.
Fill the jar in that order…rocks, pebbles then sand…and you can fit more into the jar than if you tried any other sequence.
So what does that all mean for your guitar practice?
Well of course guitar practice should be one of your large rocks right? Well depending on your goals this may or may not be true. If you want to be a professional musician, then guitar practice better be one of the big rocks you fit in the jar first.
Now I know you don’t necessarily have plans to have a career in music. But instead are probably looking for ways to improve your guitar playing in between the other big priorities of your life. So guitar practice could be a pebble for you.
But I want to talk about the sand…and how even an aspiring pro should think about the power of sand.
In a perfect world having an hour chunk of time to dedicate to practicing guitar would be ideal. And if you had 3 or 4 of those every day you would be golden.
But what happens for most people is the other commitments of life seem to suck up all of those larger blocks of time. Work, kids, watching football…
So what then happens is some bad mental voodoo. You say to yourself, I don’t have the time to practice. And it may be true that you have no room for any more rocks or pebbles. But there’s plenty of room for some sand.
Just before I started writing this article my wife was finishing up getting some lunch ready for my daughter and I.
Count down…7 minutes to lunch…
Now I could have vegged out or watched a silly cat video on YouTube. But instead I actually practiced my guitar for 7 minutes.
I knew I had a short period of time. So I worked on something small and specific. And in reality knowing that I only had a small period of time kept me focused.
So how many of those stray 3, 5 or 7 minute time slots do you have in the day? If you could fill in the cracks between the rocks and the pebbles with some guitar practice sand just think about how much you could improve.
During TV commercials, waiting for dinner to finish up, and on and on. If you could commit to making some good use of what otherwise would be dead time, you can be improving your guitar playing in the cracks of the times of your life.