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Fun ways to involve your family in your guitar practice so that they are more interested in your playing

How would you like it if you had more time to practice guitar, spend more time with your family and enjoy yourself while doing both? If this sounds like wishful thinking, you need to read this article.

It is not always easy getting practice time when your family might not completely understand or support your journey as a guitarist, thinking through the lens of your family may help your situation. I understand that every family is different, in this article I offer three activities that I have used that have helped me connect with family and allowed me to practice more.

Activity number one is known as “what song would you like”?

In this activity you simply offer to learn a song on guitar that your family enjoys. There are many reasons to avoid playing songs your family or friends want you to learn, but what about the upside?

If you learn to develop your guitar skills in the context of a song that your family wants to hear, they may not mind you practicing so much and having support may just be the gateway to a relationship that ties your music and your family together.

You might even get lucky and find that your family doesn’t mind you practicing for a bit longer, just because they can see and hear the process of practicing to achieve the goal of playing the song they requested. It will be immediately apparent to those who are paying attention to you that practice is required.

Activity number two is known as “give me a theme and I will play it”.

This activity will require some intermediate playing and some creativity. For this activity, you will want to ask your family or friends to organize a short amount of time to play a musical game. When that time comes, what you will want to do is get one person to give you an idea to spark your creativity on the guitar.

Tell them that you are stuck for ideas on creating music and even though they aren’t guitarists, they could be a huge help and even a small suggestion can help inspire you. Here are a few suggestions to give to the person working with you to get started.

  • Call out a mood: Joyful, frustrated, hungry, grateful, peaceful, lazy, desperate etc.
  • Set a story: Running from thugs, girl meets boy and falls in love, murder in the dark, lost and can’t get home etc.
  • Name an environment: The beach in summer, raindrops over Las Vegas, medieval castle etc.
  • Tell them to name something that makes them feel “X” (this is a great way to get to know more about the person you are with).

Now that they have helped you, make something up using your guitar. The music doesn’t have to be great, it is the social aspect of creating something with another person and feeding off the energy and ideas that make it awesome. This can be so much fun, I have great memories of making some truly terrible comedy pieces with friends.

Activity number three is known as “let’s make a bet ” or “let’s play a game”.

Ok, you don’t have to gamble or make a deal with your family for this activity but I am telling you, if you make it worthwhile to a non-musical family member they will beg you to play this game. All you must do in this activity is say “let’s make a bet”or “let’s play a game” and of course, your family member will want to know what you are talking about.

Tell them a technical exercise that you are currently working on, whether it is learning new chords or scales or phrases, you can even use sections of songs. Then you ask them to help you out by using flash cards with the exercise you need to practice and explain that you will both judge when you get the parts right or wrong.

  • Make a game of it by keeping score on certain elements of your practice, this can include;
  • Whether you can correctly recall a chord shown on the flash card
  • Whether you can play in time to a metronome to scales or scale sequences on the flash cards
  • Whether you can play a section of a song without sheet music or tab
  • Whether you can create an agreed upon amount of variations from a single phrase

Whether you can play an exercise with your eyes closed only having your family member call out a scale or chord progression or riff.
To spice things up you can set a wager like house chores, watching movies the other person likes that you don’t, giving a massage or eating a food that you find gross. This way you will entice the person you are playing guitar with to want to join you for practice. You will be surprised how much time you can practice when you are having fun.

So, there you have it, these are three activities that I have personally had success with and really enjoyed. Whenever I got stuck in a situation where practice time was thinning out because of family commitments I would think, “What would they want that will also help me practice guitar more”. Things like caring about what the other person enjoys, committing time to involve family in your musical life and sharing your passion is what I have found to be of high value to those I love most.

Thanks for reading, I hope this helps you to get closer to your family and get the most out of your guitar practice.

About The Author

Daniel Bainbridge is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher in Kelmscott, Western Australia. Daniel is married with children and continues to enjoy and grow the relationship he has with his family as well as his guitar teaching business, Bainbridge Music Perth. If you live in Western Australia and are considering guitar lessons, be sure to contact Daniel.