When my husband and I first got married, we started a woodworking and interior design business called South and Sea where we made custom furniture for peoples’ homes and helped them design the perfect piece for their space. We started growing pretty quickly and absolutely loved it! We had a bit of an unconventional workspace (aka the living room of our small apartment) and were constantly getting sawdust stuck in the rug and having to leave the sliding glass door open in the freezing cold winter to let out the fumes of the wood stain. But in a way it was kind of nice (not the fumes though)… we would put on a movie while we worked together and we were constantly reminded to finish our projects quickly because they were taking up literally all of the space in our house. We kept getting more orders and it was rewarding seeing the excitement of giving someone the perfect piece!
Having our business set up so it was easy to pick up and put down (since it was in the middle of our living room) made it easy to be productive…even if I did sometimes step on splinters and risked inhaling stain fumes. Because everything was right there, we never forgot about what we were working on and it fit into our lives.
I talk to so many guitar players through Instagram who say they would play guitar more or would like to get better but don’t have the time. But getting better at guitar doesn’t need to take a lot of time and can fit into your life even if you’re busy. In this blog, I wanted to share some tips about how to meld guitar playing and practice with the rest of your life so you can be a better guitarist without changing your schedule.
1) Practice While Watching TV
Finger exercises are so incredibly helpful for getting your muscle memory on point, and your left and right hand working together like a well-oiled machine. Since they take little to no mental energy, I have found that whenever my husband wanted to bond and watch a movie or TV, I can grab my guitar and noodle away unplugged. The repetition has helped so much, and having something else I’m thinking about forced my fingers to do what I want them to without thinking about it.
2) Jam With Friends
I used to think that my friends who weren’t trying to be in a band or weren’t actively playing music probably weren’t that interested in jamming. But especially this year, I have had more of my friends over who like singing just for a hobby (but don’t get to do it very often). Gathering around playing songs everyone already knows has made for some of the most fun evenings and sharpens my improv and playing by ear skills!
3) Have Your Guitars Out and About
Hanging my guitars on my wall has been the best decision. Similar to when all our woodworking tools were in the middle of our living room, it makes playing easily accessible! I still keep my higher quality acoustics in their cases (cause humidity amirite?!) but having all the electrics hung up makes it so easy to grab one while you’re waiting for someone to leave, waiting for cookies in the oven, or don’t know what to do with your night. Also if you are concerned with design, I love using the rustic looking wooden hooks you can buy on amazon for like $10!
4) Saving Videos On Insta
We have all experienced the feeling of scrolling through the grams and wondering how 20 minutes slipped away watching “picked for you” dogs being reunited with their owners videos, fast motion cake decorating, or videos of odd creatures found in the deep sea (or is this just me?). But lately, my scrolling has become more inspired through the save feature on Instagram. Now whenever I hear a guitar player I love playing a cool lick or song, I’ll save it and come back to learn it. It comes in really handy when I’m practicing the next day, wondering what to learn — I already have all this inspiration built up.
5) Playing in a Band With People You Love
My dad is maybe the best example of this. All of his friends are in his bands and this is also how he makes more friends. It makes playing out (especially when you get fun gigs at wineries, cool restaurants, and bars!) feel like friend time but you’re also doing the most fun activity. If you are wanting to get in a band and start doing this, you can start small by grabbing a buddy and build up a small set list.
Playing guitar doesn’t have to be a separate life activity that you either work at excessively or don’t do at all. Weaving it into your life makes it more fun, helps you stay motivated to get better, and brings other people into the experience. Leave a comment with your thoughts and what’s helped you!
Here’s the gear on my board in these pics!