My Television Ate My Guitar

I was looking through some of my old blog posts and I came across this one from all the way back in 2005. I think it is still relevant today so enjoy!

My television ate my guitar!

Eventually something has to be done.

You know the feeling. You have been playing the same licks for so long you can’t remember when you learned them. Playing the guitar (input your instrument) just doesn’t seem to be fun anymore…it has become boring! Boring because you only know the first 10 bars of any given song and maybe 3 or 4 really cool licks that you can’t place into a song anyway. So you might have taken up a different hobby, maybe skeet shooting. (don’t laugh, this really happened)

Well, what are you going to do about it?

1. Set a goal.

make it a small goal, something attainable in a short time. Just like weight lifting or training to run a marathon, we have to work up to the bigger goals gradually. As we build momentum, it gets easier and lot’s more fun. For example, don’t say you want to learn the entire guitar solo to Free Bird in a week. Rather, decide to learn 4 bars in a week. As your ears learn to hear notes and chords better and you get faster at transcribing the solo, add a couple of measures at a time.

2. Be consistent.

Try to pick up your instrument at the same time every day. I know, I know. I can already hear the excuses about being busy with work, kids and the like. I can’t believe everybody is working 24/7. There is always some down time or quiet time. Turn off the TV for a half hour and pick up your instrument. The key here is to play at the same time every day. Obviously playing more is great but at the minimum at least once a day.

3. Have your own area.

One of the biggest time wasters in practicing is clearing off the dining room table and trying to find your books or CDs that you are working from. By the time you get everything together, ten or fifteen minutes has gone by. All you need is a corner where you can keep your instrument and a music stand and maybe a small table. This area is off limits to the rest of the house. You should be able to go there and get right down to work.

4. Have fun!

If music isn’t going to be fun then why bother? There are plenty of other hobbies or activities that would love our time and money. But also keep in mind that if playing music was easy then everybody would be doing it and that would take the uniqueness from it. remember why you started playing in the first place. When the licks or chords get unbearable ( see my posts on barre chords), get up and walk away but go back later and take a smaller section to work on.

That’s plenty for now. Find the time, a place and get down to it!

Energize Your music and Your life!

Unleash The Musician Within You In 3 Minutes Or Less!


Unleash The Musician Within You In 3 Minutes Or Less!

Take a look around your house.

Can you see your guitar?

 Or, is it stashed in some dark corner never to see the light of day until you mercifully

unlock it from it’s confines and let it breathe sweet music into your life.

One of the most important keys to playing a musical instrument is simply to play the thing every day.

 That’s it.

 Simple as that.

 Now, I can hear the excuses coming in.

My house is too small, my kids or pet iguana might knock it over, etc.

Believe me, I understand. I have five dogs bouncing off the walls in my tiny shoebox of a house!

 Are you going to let some lame excuse like that rule your life and drain all the joy out of your music?

 Look, it’s a proven fact that when you’re musical instrument is hidden away you are less and less likely to find the time to play it.

Don’t kid yourself, you know what I am talking about. It happens to everybody at some point, even me.

 Instead of being disappointed that you can’t remember how to play a song or phrase that you spent so much time on a few weeks ago, or that the strings on your guitar have turned into blackened, rusty and toneless lengths of wire, keep your instrument in a prominent, well trafficked area of the house so that you can pick it up at a moment’s notice and strum a few chords while waiting for the spaghetti to boil.

 I remember seeing Chuck Mangione on the Johnny Carson show many years ago and he said he had a horn in every room of his house so that he could play any time there was a free couple of minutes.

hmmm, sounds like a good idea wouldn’t you say?

 I realize not all of us can do that so instead have one instrument in the room you use most. Keep it in the case if you have to but just make it easy and convenient to access.

 These quick 3 minute practice sessions really pay off huge dividends in the long run.

 While you are at it, try to focus on one simple thing at a time such as a particular barre chord or simple phrase.

In no time at all you will be sounding like the musician you want to be! 

Energize your music and your life!

Joe Stoebenau




copyright 2013 Joe Stoebenau Music