Power of Consistency

by Mario Amengual

Consistency – what a word! If you clearly understand what it means and use it everyday, it will make you a great player.

In my previous article, “The Man Who Thinks He Can”, I wrote about believing in yourself, which is the first step to achieving your musical goals. The next step comes from the work (perfecting your craft) and that can only be done through consistent action each and every day. Today there are many who are searching for quick fixes. They want to play like Yngwie, Van Halen, Shawn Lane and other great players, but they lack the consistent action to work day in and day out until what they want is achieved. Here is some of the most common excuses people use in explaining why they cannot be consistent in their practicing:

  • I don’t know what to do
  • I don’t feel like practicing today
  • I don’t have time
  • What’s the use (purpose)
I know there are more, but I think you get the point. Hear me well my fellow guitar players. If you seriously want to be a great player, then you must do what great player do! Here in a nutshell is what a great player does; they practice, practice, and then practice some more.

Now let’s deal with each of the above excuses and find a solution to this issue.

  • I don’t know what to do.

    This problem stems from lack of organization. If you were going on a trip would you just get in your car and drive with no direction or destination? It’s the same with music. Organize your practice and make time for the item you want to improve on and work on. Here is a brief list of items you can work on:

    1. Scales
    2. Arpeggios
    3. Learning a song
    4. Reading music
    5. Practicing sequences
    6. Learning music theory

    The World Wide Web has thousands of lessons, and if that doesn’t help, get a teacher. A teacher is a great resource well worth the price.

  • I don’t feel like practicing today.

    I think this really affects a lot of musicians. As musician we have an emotional connection with our instruments. It’s hard to separate them at times, but you must always look to the future and realize that you will never play something well unless you work on it. When confronted with this challenge:

    1. Why not just start with 10 minutes - Sometimes just having the guitar in your hands inspires you to practice.
    2. Listen to one of your favorite players - This really can inspire you to work on your playing.
    3. Go see a movie, play, concert, or go on a date - This will get your creative juices flowing. We never create in a vacuum, what goes in always goes out.
    4. And if that doesn’t help, find a great guitar player and jam with him/her - Sometimes when we see someone else playing well it motivates us to get better.
    5. Set clear goals. Visualize them everyday. In fact, before practicing, see yourself playing like your favorite player. Having written, clear-cut goals can inspire you also.

  • I don’t have time.

    I think we all use this one – Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day. You must set priorities for what you want to accomplish. Look at your day; what is keeping you from practicing. Maybe you spend two hours talking to someone you see everyday, or you have a computer game you like, or you are hooked on Lost, 24, The Soprano’s, etc. What ever it is, if you are committed to succeed, something must go. My friend, Guitar Virtuoso, Tom Hess has said it this way, “Find things that are not helping you and remove one every week.” In other words, work on what matters to you and get rid of what doesn’t. It’s up to you!

    Now if you don’t have 4-12 hours a day to practice, how about 2-3 hours? Remember it’s about consistency. Time is always against us (to all the Matrix fans), but we can use time to our advantage. Tomorrow is going to come so if you prepare by just doing it, in no time you will be a great player.

  • What’s the use.

    Sometimes we lose sight of our goals. We all have been there. We see great players and wonder if we will ever get there. I’ve been playing guitar over 25 years. All the above excuses I have used as well, but I have also felt the pain of letting something I really love fall to the way side (guitar playing) and I have felt the pride of having people tell me I play great also. Those little victories are worth the hours of practice. Consitancey could be your friend or enemy. Remember it works two ways, move forward or don’t move at all.

Thank you for reading my article. Please visit my website www.marioamengual.com. Or email me at marioamengul@aol.com with any questions or comments.

© 2006 By Mario Amengual. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission

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