Avoid Practice Distractions | Hub Guitar

Avoid Practice Distractions

Artwork by Sergey Banityuk

One of the most useful practice tools we have available is our computer. But could your computer end up becoming a distraction in your practice routine?

Benefits of Practicing With The Computer

On a basic level, our computer can serve multiple functions:

  • Recording station to create music
  • Video recording to critique of our own technique
  • Notebook to keep track of progress
  • Playback of audio examples or backing tracks

Other Useful Software

Here are a few of the more essential software applications available for musicians.

  • Transcribe! — open a tune in MP3 format and slow it down so you can figure out how to play it.
  • Band in a Box — punch in any chords you like and get an instant backing track.
  • Evernote — keep track of your practice progress, forever.

Uses for the Internet in Our Practice

There are many resources to learn guitar on the web. While they vary in quality, these resources have become indispensable to learning guitar. They include:

  • Online lessons
  • Tabs and chord charts
  • Tutorials and other guides
  • Backing tracks, both free and paid
  • YouTube tutorials

Disadvantages to Practicing With Your Computer

It’s important to remember that you don’t actually need your computer to practice. In fact, in the moments when you are truly practicing, you are probably not focused on your computer.

You may want to use your computer to prepare and organize your practice for 5-10 minutes (with guitar in hand), and then move the remainder of your practice session into “the shed”, a dedicated area with no computers or internet.

What to Bring Into The Shed

In the shed you will need access to everything you require to practice.

This may seem a bit inconvenient, but it can improve your practice.

First, distractions are removed. Avoid letting the limited practice time you have be eaten away be the distraction of family or housemates, emails, text messages, and similar.

Second, a habit is formed. The mere act of stepping into your practice space will help your mind and body prepare for the routine of practicing.

Learners Overestimate What Is Needed to Practice

Hub Guitar publishes hundreds of free guitar lessons. Many learners make the mistake of thinking that more is better. But once you’ve gotten into the habit of studying at the appropriate difficulty level, you will hopefully discover that it is better to spend an hour of deep practice on one or two topics than it is to spend two hours of shallow practice on a dozen topics. Your best results will come from the techniques and exercises you’ve truly mastered.

If You Need to Practice With Your Computer

There‘s nothing wrong with using your computer to practice. Just be aware it comes at a cost.

Close Distracting Programs

To reduce distractions from your computer, consider beginning your practice by closing distracting programs such as email clients. You want to set up a “do not disturb” atmosphere for yourself.

Further: Block Distracting Websites

If you want to take it a step further, you can use a service like Get Cold Turkey to block access to websites that are not necessary to practice. This would probably include Facebook, Gmail and the like.

Hardcore: Shut Off the Internet

If you want to take it a step further, consider the app Freedom, which blocks all Internet access irreversibly for however long you choose. If you choose 30 minutes, it will shut off your Internet for 30 minutes, and you won’t be able to turn the Internet back on without rebooting or waiting for the full amount of time.

Of course, if you’re using online learning resources like Hub Guitar, you may want to find a solution such as Cold Turkey that allows you to continue accessing certain websites. Or, you could always print the lessons you want to study in PDF form.

As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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