In this video, you will discover:
Below is the transcript of the video and the links to the PDF mentioned.
Here it is Memorial Day, the unofficial-official start of summer, and it's the time that I am setting my harp goals for the summer. Are you doing the same?
I think summer is the perfect time to set a goal. First of all it's that 3-month, 90-day window that is the ideal amount of time for setting a goal working through it, achieving it and then going on to the next thing.
Second of all, in the summer, even with all the vacation time or away time whatever else might happen, I have the extra energy to really focus on one thing. I focus on whatever the one thing is that's really going to move my playing forward.
Thirdly it's the greatest thing to feel that I've really focused on something important during the summer, because then when the autumn comes, I'm ready to dive back into whatever regular playing I have to do knowing that I'm more in shape and that I've really accomplished something over the summer.
So that's why I set these goals, and here's how I go about doing it.
I consider those three growth areas that every musician needs to keep working it in order to keep growing, progressing and moving forward. Those three areas are repertoire, musicianship and technique. All three of those things need to be developed continually. The hard way to work at that is to try to do everything all at the same time. It's a little bit easier if, in addition to your regular practice, you pick just one item from just one of those categories and really focus on it. You could do that every 90 days if you want.
I'm going to pick one of those areas to work on during the summertime, and I'm going to pick one very specific goal. For instance if I'm going to work on repertoire, my goal might be to learn some new music, or it might be to review old music or to set up a practice rotation to review a lot of things that I want to keep in my fingers, or it might be to create set lists, or special programs of music. Those would be some repertoire goals.
Some musicianship goals might be to review some music theory like chord harmony, keys and scales. Or it might be to work on your sight reading or improvisation or even on memorization. You could also work on different means of expression like dynamics or tempo or rubato. Legato, phrasing and tone could also be a musicianship focus.
Working on technique is self-explanatory, isn't it? To make sure that your fingers are working properly, you could do strength conditioning or working at relaxation or working at flexibility and agility.
Those are some ideas of goals and you can even be more specific. Maybe your technique goal is, “I want to work on my scales at this particular tempo marking.” Okay, that’s a nice specific goal and a great kind of a goal to set.
So the first thing I do is to choose one thing. I like to choose the thing that's been really bugging me, the thing that I think: if only I could get this one thing done, if I had the time to do this one thing or work on this one particular skill or if I could just make this one thing better a lot of other things would fall into place. I don't have to tell you what that is for you; you probably already know. It's that one thing that really is so annoying. You , “if only I could conquer thumb slides, everything would be perfect.”
That's the kind of goal that you could set for yourself, a really specific goal, and then once you set that goal you've got your time frame, these three summer months. Then work out 3 interim goals or 3 progress checks, so that at the end of month one you want to be this far along, at the end of month two you want to be this far along, and then at the end of month 3 you've achieved your goal.
Then you can break down each one of those progress points into weekly benchmarks. If I need to be this far along by the end of the first month, what are the steps I need to take to get there? Then you have a focus for every week's practice. And if there are going to be some weeks that you're away, then you set your benchmarks accordingly, so that you are realistic and you don't set goals that are so high that you can't achieve them. jjust take that into consideration, and you'll still be on track at the end of your 90 days.
That's how I do it, and I have a tool that can help you do it too. Many of you have already gotten access to my Spark Practice Journal, and I have created a couple new pages that are specifically designed for 90-day goals, to help you set them and to set those monthly progress checkpoints and the weekly benchmarks. You can get those extra pages as a free download. You'll find the link in the show notes or in the text here somewhere.
If you don't have the Spark Journal already, this is a perfect time to do that, and you'll be able to find the link to do that as well. It's very helpful, full of motivational quotes; it’s a nice way to be able to keep track of what you do. It's a PDF; you just download it, and then you print the pages that you want when you need them.
The new Spark Journal pages are there for free for all of you, and you can add them to your Journal if you already have it.
I want to hear about your 90-day goals. You can leave your 90-day goals as a comment to this post, and then be sure to check back in to let us know in a few months if you've gotten there and what kind of a difference it's made for you.
Go enjoy your summer, set your goal and have a great time practicing!