Here’s a question that I’m not asked nearly as often as I should be. We live in a fast-paced world that seems to reward “busy-ness” over “effectiveness.” While it’d be great to watch our favorite TV shows while simultaneously downloading new guitar skills into our hands, that’s not really how it works.
Being effective on guitar ultimately means being focused on what you are thinking about while you play and what your hands feel like during the process.
So when is it appropriate to practice guitar while watching TV?
Probably never, with a few exceptions:
1. The TV is off and you’re using it as a reflective surface to watch your hands for unnecessary movement.
2. Your goal is to transcribe the theme to your favorite show
3. You are prepping for a performance AND there are commercials- so you practice a song from start to finish without stopping during every commercial break
4. Your spouse/family/roommate is watching a show you don’t like, but you want to be in the same room with them, AND are 100% committed to annoying them.
Otherwise… you’re better off not trying to multitask this way.
If you’re watching TV with your family, be with your family.
If you’re watching a movie alone, focus on the plot.
When you’re practicing guitar, focus on your technique and always be thinking about how your body feels and where the next note is. It is not possible to do this while doing anything else.
The only reps that really count, as far as your brain is concerned, are the ones that are done with intention.
Your Pal and Guitar Teacher,