Keys to developing your concentration
Focus is a great thing to have, especially when learning music. But let’s face it; life sometimes has a nasty way of interfering with our playing. From family to work commitments to unexpected events that trip us up to illness and fatigue, our attention can often be pulled away from learning guitar. There are several things you can do to combat distractions and focus in on your music. Here are five methods, in no particular order:
Get plenty of sleep, exercise, and healthy food
Doctors, nutritionists, and health experts have been pounding this advice into our heads for decades, and there is a reason. Not only will doing these things daily prolong your life, these easy-to-do activities can increase your ability to focus immeasurably.
Natural sleep aids like melatonin and valerian root are a great way to get that extra rest that may be eluding you. When exercising, you don’t need to run a marathon. A brisk 30-minute walk around your neighborhood every day or two can work wonders. As for food, keep it as natural and non-processed as possible, and take multivitamins and other supplements as needed. If you are not already doing these things, it may take a while to notice any change. But keep at it; the change will come, and it will be worth it.
Designate and de-clutter your practice space
If at all possible, designate a particular part of your home for your guitar and accessories. Keep it free of all clutter and remove anything from the area not related to your music. You will find that doing this will help you keep focused during your designated rehearsal time.
Create a schedule and stick to it
Note the term “designated rehearsal time” in the above section. Having the same time of day and length of time scheduled can help greatly with the ability to concentrate. There is a much greater chance for good concentration when you know you can set aside a certain amount of time and devote it exclusively to your passion.
It may seem counterintuitive to someone who is itching to play, but doing this can serve as a reminder to stop at the designated time, too. This is important if you want to follow the next bit of advice.
Do what needs to be done, as soon as you can
When you are outside of your designated rehearsal time, tend to the things that were trying to distract you. Pay those bills. Do your work. Spend time with your family and friends. In other words, handle your obligations, and do so in a time-efficient manner. Not only will you free yourself of many distractions, but you may eventually find that you have freed up more time to play!
Be kind to yourself
Life is not perfect. Neither are you. Unlearning ineffective habits and replacing them with effective ones takes time and effort. And no matter how good you become at removing distractions, things will still throw you off from time to time. It’s a part of life. Be patient and gracious with yourself.