Achieving Your Musical Dreams

David Motto’s Practice Tip of the Week:
Achieving Your Musical Dreams

Today is the third day of the new year. Some people have already dropped their resolutions! Research tells us that 25% of new year’s resolutions are dropped in the first week, 50% dropped after one month, and only 10% make it to the end of the year. There must be a better way!!

New Year’s Resolutions for Musicians

Musicians typically have resolutions that sound something like this:

Resolution 1: “I resolve to become a better musician this year.”

Resolution 2: “I’m finally going to learn that one song that’s always seemed just beyond my grasp.”

Resolution 3: “This year, I’m actually going to practice every day.”

Sound familiar?

These are all worthy resolutions – and they’d be even better as well-thought-out goals. Let’s look at each of them individually:

1. Becoming a Better Musician
Becoming a better musician is what we all try to do each and every year. It’s a long-term, essentially permanent goal. It’s also just a little bit vague. Vague goals are challenging to achieve.

2. Learning “That Song”
That song. You know the one. It might even be the song that got you to become a musician in the first place. This goal is specific, which makes it a better target as both a goal and a New Year’s resolution

3. Practicing Daily
Practicing daily is also a specific goal. And, it’s incredibly short-term, which makes it a perfect New Year’s resolution. You can control whether or not you practice on any single, given day.

Achieving Your Long-Term, Life Goals

For all goals (including New Year’s resolutions) to be achieved, they need to be specific. If you’ve been reading these practice tips or my blog for any period of time, you know I’m a big believer in the SMART Goals system, and the “S” in SMART stands for Specific.

I also believe that having a short-term deadline is a key component of goal achievement. Short-term goals are easier to grasp in your mind. They’re easier to complete. And, they don’t seem as overwhelming as longer-term goals.

What’s most important about short-term goals, though, is this: Without short-term goals you can’t achieve your longer-term goals anyway. It’s the daily and weekly goal achievement that build up to the big life achievements. Simple, but profound.

Ordering Your Musical Goals

I recommend you put your goals and resolutions in this order:

PUT THIS FIRST: Make Daily Practice Your #1 Goal
Commit to practicing every day. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Do whatever it takes. You can definitely, absolutely achieve this very short-term goal!

THIS IS SECOND: Work on “That Song”
Each day, work on a very small segment of “that song” that you’ve been dreaming of playing. Even if there is absolutely no way you can play the entire song now, you can always learn just a few notes a day. Each little section is a short-term goal that you can and will achieve.

THEN, THIS WILL AUTOMATICALLY HAPPEN THIRD: Become a Better Musician
Put together these small sections of your song one by one. Over time, you’ll conquer the song one small bit at a time. The very process of putting the short sections together into one cohesive hole will make you the better musician you’re dreaming of being!

Achieving Short-Term Goals:
The Effective Path to Achieving Your Dreams

If you follow these steps, you will be able to play “that song” by the end of the year! And, working on small skills every day and finally learning “that song” will turn you into the better musician you want to be.

Focus on your short-term goals. They are the key to your success. Without short-term goals, there’s no way to achieve long-term dreams!

Here’s to achieving your short-term, near-term, and yearly goals 2018. Happy New Year!!

To Your Musical Success!
David Motto

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