Balancing Guitar Practice with a Busy Adult Life
1. Embracing Guitar Practice With a Busy Adult Life
Welcome to the awesome world of learning guitar! If you're an adult picking up the guitar for the first time, you're embarking on a rewarding journey that blends creativity with discipline. While balancing guitar practice with a busy adult life can be challenging, it's certainly achievable and immensely gratifying. Whether you're looking for guitar lessons in Bath (where I teach in person) or planning to self-teach, this post offers practical tips for adults balancing guitar practice with a busy life.
2. Unique Challenges Faced by Adult Learners
As adults, we often juggle multiple responsibilities - work, family, social commitments, and more. Finding time for guitar practice amidst these can seem daunting. Additionally, adult learners might face psychological hurdles like the fear of being “too old to learn” or feelings of self-doubt. If you’ve already recognized these challenges then congratulations because that’s the first step towards overcoming them.
3. Advantages of Being an Adult Learner
Despite the challenges, adult learners possess significant advantages. With age comes a mature perspective on learning, a stronger sense of self-discipline, and clearer personal goals. Unlike younger learners, adults are often more self-motivated and have the ability to self-regulate their learning process, which can lead to more effective and satisfying learning experiences. It’s more likely that you’ll hear the mistakes you’re making and although this can be difficult at first, it enables you to establish more quickly what needs to change.
4. Setting Realistic Goals
Goal setting is crucial in the learning process. As an adult learner, it's important to set realistic, achievable goals for your guitar practice. Think about what you want to achieve - whether it's learning a particular song, mastering a set of chords, or playing a full piece. Use the SMART goal-setting framework to create Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound objectives.
5. Creating an Effective Practice Schedule
Finding time for regular practice is essential. Look at your daily schedule and identify potential practice times. I recommend 15 minutes per day 5 days per week if you want to see progress. Consistency is also key, so try to practice at the same time every day to establish a routine. Remember, quality trumps quantity - focused, deliberate practice is more effective than long, unfocused sessions.
Pro Tips: People often say ‘I don’t have the time’ - however I’d argue you wouldn’t have time to read this post if you did. Either way you could try one of the following:
Get up 7 and a half minutes earlier and go to bed 7 and half minutes later, that’ll give you the 15 minutes you want OR
If you’re prone to browsing social media on your phone, set a timer every time you do and you might be surprised at the amount of time that gets wasted just scrolling, Stop scrolling and start practicing.
6. Efficient Practice Techniques for Busy Individuals
Focus on practicing efficiently. Start with the basics - 3 note chords, simple strumming strumming pattern, and simple melodies. Break down your practice sessions into smaller, focused segments - perhaps 5 minutes on chord transitions, followed by 10 minutes on a particular song. Use technology to your advantage; there are numerous apps and online resources that offer structured lessons and practice exercises. If you’re really struggling to know exactly what to practice, an experienced teacher is the absolute best way to discover this. This is why people still pay for guitar lessons even though there is a mountain of free content on YouTube.
7. Staying Motivated and Overcoming Plateaus
Staying motivated can be challenging, especially when progress seems slow. Set small, incremental goals and celebrate when you achieve them. If you hit a plateau, try mixing up your routine, learning a new song, or even taking a short break. Remember, every musician faces challenges; persistence is key.
8. Community and Support
A supportive community can be incredibly beneficial. Look for local guitar groups or online forums where you can share your progress, ask for advice, and learn from others. Being part of a community not only provides support but also motivates you to keep progressing.
9. Inspirational Stories
Inspirational stories from fellow adult learners can be incredibly motivating. For instance, consider the story of my student Dave, who started learning guitar at 63 and is now able to play along to his favourite songs by artists such as Don WIliams, Smokie and The Beatles! His journey shows that with dedication and the right mindset, it’s never too late to start learning and enjoying music.
Taking guitar lessons in Bath (or anywhere!) is a fulfilling experience that offers more than just musical skills. It's a journey of personal growth, discipline, and joy. Remember, the key to balancing guitar practice with a busy life lies in setting realistic goals, efficient practice, staying motivated, and if you can, leaning on the support of a teacher
11. Call to Action
I'd love to hear your stories and experiences. How do you balance guitar practice with your daily life? What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
About The Author
Aaron Carrington is the owner of Carrington Guitar Academy in Bath, UK. Now permanently in Bath, Aaron specializes in teaching older adults how to play guitar and learn their favourite songs by offering a personalized lesson plan tailored to each student’s goals. You may also catch Aaron busking regularly on the streets of Bath. If you're interested in guitar lessons get in touch to book a FREE trial lesson.
Since graduating from The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London, Aaron has played in high profile locations such as Buckingham Palace, The Savoy and The London Eye. He’s been a regular part of the UK wedding and corporate gig scene and has travelled internationally to the Middle East to play in top quality residency bands 6 nights per week. The finesse gained from this level of playing experience is passed on to his guitar students.