Practice Tip #1: Take the Instrument Out of the Case!

It may seem absurdly self-evident, but you can’t practice your guitar (flute, clarinet, bass, etc) when it’s locked up inside a case. Of course, when you bring it home from your music lesson, it’s in a case (I hope – for protection from the elements, dust, etc). And you’re tired because you’ve had a long day, so you set it down. Then you eat dinner, and do your homework. Perhaps you switch on the tv to unwind, or play a video game. And there your instrument sits, sadly abandoned and collecting dust until the weekend. Then, you intend to practice, but a friend comes over, or there’s a ball game, and sure enough, your next lesson rolls around and that poor, lonely instrument is still sitting there in its case. So sad!

Of course, it only takes a couple of minutes to take it out of its case, but that represents a commitment to do something with it, and you have to think about it and plan it. My experience with myself and others is that the case represents a psychological barrier. So try this. As soon as you get home, at the same time as you take off your shoes and hang up your coat, just take the instrument out of its case and put it somewhere you can’t avoid seeing it throughout the week. Guitars can go in a stand or on a hanging wall holder. I prefer the wall hangers because they save floor space and keep the guitar from being knocked over by dogs or small children. There are wall hangers available for pretty much all stringed instruments, even an upright bass! “String Swing” also makes wall holders for clarinets, trumpets, flutes, you name it! This way your instrument will be out in plain view, looking at you and inviting you to pick it up and play a few notes or chords anytime you have a free moment. Annoying ad on Youtube? Turn down the volume and strum a chord on the guitar! Someone else is in the bathroom? Waiting for little sister to get her hair just right before everyone piles in the car to go somewhere? Your instrument is the perfect distraction while you’re sitting around. And you might find that you get so engrossed in playing that you want to continue. Great! You’ve just taken that all important first step of breaking through the ‘fear of practicing’ barrier. Congratulations.

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