– by Michael Gumley

Are you constantly late to gigs and rehearsals? Are you struggling to find the time to practice everything you need to? Are you sick of letting yourself and others down? When it comes to being reliable, musicians aren’t known for their organisational skills and guitarists have an especially bad reputation. In this article I’m going to talk about how you can implement some basic ideas that will help you get organised and increase your productivity.

I find it amazing how musicians can invest thousands of hours into getting good at their instrument yet invest little or no time into being organised. This is what I call the ‘Artist’s Curse’ and doesn’t just appear to be limited to musicians with writers, painters and actors all displaying a lack of organisation in their life. Whether you’re trying to make it in the music industry or just find enough time to practice everything on your plate a little bit of organisation can go a long way towards making you more successful and easily make you stand out from the crowd.

Below I am going to present some easy to implement ideas that anybody can do. Before you get your back up and make excuses come to the realisation that there are thousands of other artists competing for the same opportunities so if you don’t take the steps below to get ahead, somebody else will.


This might seem like a simple idea but is overlooked by so many people. Go out and buy yourself a physical calendar and hang it on the fridge. Every time you have a gig or rehearsal put it on the calendar and make the effort to be punctual in your attendance. You can even take it a step further and get a calendar app that send you notification straight to your phone reminding you on the day or even the hour of your appointments. There really is no excuse with all the technology you have these days.It doesn’t matter how good a musician you are if you develop a reputation for being late or a no-show your fellow musicians will stop working with you.


This is a big one for me. I like to spend 30 minutes every Sunday planning out my entire week. This includes all of my appointments and what I will be working on business wise for each hour of each day. I also go into specific detail with my guitar practice. I work out how much time I have on each day (eg Monday 1 hour, Tuesday 30m, Wednesday 2 hours, etc) and a list of things I need to work on throughout the week (legato, tapping, melodic minor scale usage etc). I will then assign each practice item to a 10-30 minute time slot within the time I have allocated for guitar practice. Go out and buy a diary or weekly planner sheet or download one of countless apps that can help you do this.


Set aside a room in your house specifically for practice. Keep this room clean and tidy and have all of the materials you need on hand. If you don’t have the luxury of a spare room make sure the room you do practice in has enough space for a chair, music stand and your guitar. Put a do not disturb sign on your door during practice time and let everybody know that you’re not to be interrupted while the door is shut.


This is a big one. In addition to you guitar you should have spare strings, spare leads, string winders, a cleaning rag, a basic guitar tool kit, a metronome and a timer. Keep all of your sheet music in a neatly arranged folder and any books you are using on a shelf nearby. The last thing you want to do is waste 5 minutes looking for your sheet music or breaking a string and having to miss out on practice entirely. Being organised is the difference between wasting time and effective practice, it will also save you when something goes wrong during a gig.

Hopefully you already implement some of the ideas I have presented here, but if you don’t there is no better time than the present to start. Use these ideas to get more out of your time. Not only will you benefit from being more organised but you will develop a reputation as a reliable musician and will see more and more opportunities flow towards you.


Michael is a heavy metal guitarist from Melbourne Australia. He plays in progressive metal act Hybrid Nightmares and is the owner of Brimstone Bookings. He aims to help aspiring musicians develop the right mindset necessary to succeed in the music industry. If you want to be a professional musician then Melbourne Beginner Guitar Lessons will teach you all the skills you need to kickstart your music career. Don’t learn the hard way, visit Michael’s website and make massive progress in record time!


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