Beat Holiday Regression – How to Maintain Guitar Progress Over Christmas
Christmas holidays – a chance for you to relax and enjoy some much-needed time off. It’s also a chance for you to forget some things you’ve learned, and undo some of the good work you’ve done throughout the year! How can your guitar progress possibly survive this miasma of inactivity? Check out these easy ways to help you maintain guitar progress over Christmas, and beat “Holiday Regression.”
1. Continue Your Lessons If Possible
The Guitar Gym only closes for 1-2 weeks over Christmas. If you’re still in town, there’s no reason why you can’t come to a guitar lesson and maintain guitar progress over Christmas. If the usual after-school time doesn’t work during the holidays, just use the “Reschedule a Lesson” form on the website and find a time that works while you or your family is off school. Even if you have your lesson in the middle of the day on a different day each holiday week, you’ll still be reaping the benefits of weekly lessons without it getting in the way of you enjoying your much-needed rest and relaxation.
2. Stick to Your Usual Realistic Practice Schedule
If you’re still attending your weekly lesson, then you don’t need to practice any more than you did when you weren’t on holidays to maintain guitar progress over Christmas. One of the benefits of attending a weekly lesson is that you’ll continue to improve without additional practice, albeit much more slowly than with regular playing at home. Check out our article “Are You Really Too Busy To learn The Guitar?” for more on that subject.
With that said, if you usually go to school and now find yourself without schoolwork, you have way more opportunities to grab your guitar and have a play. A good way to maximise this is to leave your guitar out where you can see it and easily pick it up and play. Cutting out the set-up time will make you more efficient, and makes playing the guitar more appealing. Check out our article “8 Tips To Better Guitar Practice.” If you go on a trip, see if you can take a guitar with you. Whether you can or not, check online for any guitar shops in your holiday destination – it can be very interesting seeing what guitars can be found in shops outside of your usual haunts.
3. Hang out with Your Musical Friends
Chances are that people you know play an instrument, too. Now that you have some free time, organise to hang out and play some songs. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy – just play some chords together and have some fun. You’re on holidays, after all! The holidays are also an excellent opportunity to go and see some live music, with more festive events being held and you having more time to go and see them.
Go see some concerts with your musical friends and have an in-depth discussion of what you’ve seen – it’s amazing some of the things that you can pick up just by talking about music with others. Discuss some of what you see with your coach – all of the coaches at The Guitar Gym are extensively experienced in live performance, and will be able to shed some light on any questions you might have about how things are done.
4. Listen to Music
It sounds a bit obvious, doesn’t it – who doesn’t listen to music? Just make sure that some of your daily music interaction is active listening. Active listening means that the music is your primary focus while you’re listening to it, instead of having music as background noise while you do other things. You may be very surprised how much of your music you’ve been missing out on. Check out our article on active listening for more information on getting the most out of your music.
If your usual listening doesn’t include a lot of guitar music, maybe try to include some more guitar-centric music in your playlist. Regardless of the type of music you like, you’ll be able to find something that sounds good to you and includes a guitar. Try asking your coach for recommendations.
5. Don’t Feel Bad for Having a Day Off
The worst thing you can do is turn your guitar playing into a chore. If you miss some days over the holiday season, that’s totally fine. A little bit of practice during our holiday closure period will be enough to keep you improving. If you beat yourself up over every day that you don’t practice, all you’ll do is make yourself unhappy, and eventually despondent and resentful of the instrument. The old adage of “half an hour” of daily practice is a myth. Your weekly lessons are enough to keep you improving by themselves,and any extra playing you do at home is a huge bonus. Check out our article “Psychology for Success” to learn more about how your practice expectations can influence how you feel about your guitar playing.
Everyone celebrates the end of the year in their own way. Some take lots of time off work, some work all the way through. There are lots of ways that you can maintain guitar progress over Christmas. Ultimately, the most effective step you can take to preserve your progress during the holiday season is simply to continue to stay engaged with your guitar as much of the holiday period as possible, and to make music a part of your life for all the space in between.