Begin with Mastery
What I didn't say!! They asked me to keep it short so I stayed short and positive. And here is now a few things I left out:
1. Why is it that we practice the day before a lesson?
It usually is because we want to look good. Especially in a group class. When we wait until the day before to practice, the lesson is no longer fresh, we have negative feelings about not having practiced during the week, and the amygdala sends stress signals that we will not look good in class. So we start practicing on top of all that negativity, realize we have forgotten and pile frustration on top of it all. Then we go to class and avoid being called on because we are avoiding looking bad. After class - if it goes well and nobody notices that we didn't practice, we feel relief and now there is all this negativity surrounding the guitar. So we want to stay relaxed the next day and the process becomes our weekly routine.
a. interrupt this pattern the day after the lesson by practicing simply to review the lesson
b. Use the 5 minute hack to practice everyday
c. Give up looking good. Embrace looking bad!!!! Laugh at mistakes. Use them as your teacher, your guide. Mistakes are saying "practice me!" But in the pattern of looking good, we take them as something bad or negative. No. Mistakes are our Greatest teachers
2. When a student tells me they didn't practice because they weren't motivated, I explain that it is the reverse. They aren't motivated because they didn't practice. This is how I can tell the moment a student walks in my room whether they have practiced or not. Motivation is energy and it's palpable. So motion generates emotion, like the motion of a pebble dropping in water generates a reflective ripple. This is good news. Because we can interrupt negative and complex thoughts with a simple action. And the simple action I recommend is the 5 minute hack: tell Amy G. Dala (your amygdala) that you will only do this for 5 minutes and there's no danger involved. The amygdala prefers for us to have things stay the way they are. When I go surfing, my amygdala is on high alert for the first 5 minutes. Are there any rogue waves that are going to clobber me? Once she's scanned the situation and realize that I am safe and can handle the size of the waves, I relax and have fun. Same thing happens practicing. After 5 minutes Amy settles down and motivation kicks in. If it doesn't, that's ok. Just do 5 minutes.
3. Designing a habit
These ideas are taken from BJ Fogg in his book Tiny Habits. Rather than paraphrase, here is a video of him in his own words:
Richard Miller's ideas on how to make practicing fun and effective.