Dude, where’s my motivation?

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I was struggling to write this week’s post. The sun is shining, the weather is hot, it’s almost the summer holidays. And then inspiration struck .. I will write about motivation!

What is motivation?

‘Motivation’ can be described as the psychological feature that prompts someone to take action toward a desired goal. An example of this may be the basic needs to eat, breath, survive and the actions taken by an someone to fulfil them. I.E. what gets one off one’s bottom to get something done!

How do I get motivated?

The pressure of the deadline!

When it comes to practice and rehearsing music, I find it difficult to get motivated unless I am working toward a goal. For me this is usually an upcoming gig that I need to learn lyrics or a particularly tricky riff for and as the time gets closer, the urgency rises, and the motivation increases. 

This is why I recommend booking blocks of lessons when first starting guitar (or any instrument!). Once the novelty of ‘starting to play guitar’ subsides, the deadline of the next lesson acts as the motivation to get the student practicing – to complete all your exercises and show some improvement since last time.

Some other examples might include: booking your Grade exam and having the date marked in the calendar, booking a performance at a local open mic night or at school. But do not raise the stress levels too high, too quick. Set achievable goals that you can succeed at and build on.

Look for Inspiration

This can strike at any time – you just feel compelled to pick up an instrument and play. This is a good time to write and be creative too. Just improvise and hear a melody in your mind and try to play it, think of some lyrics and see if they fit. Write and record!

If you are struggling – switch yourself on to ‘receive’: be open to inspiration all around – Listen to different radio stations, browse different genres on Spotify or iTunes. Just the personal satisfaction of picking up the guitar and learning a new song you just heard on the radio is motivation enough for me!

Of course motivation may come in different forms for different people: money, competition, perfectionism …etc.etc. It is important to learn what it is that gets you going and use it to work to your advantage.

As all my students break up for their summer holidays, with no lessons or exams for a while – I wonder how many will still pick the guitar just for fun? Of course, I expect all of them will.


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