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Tips & Tricks: Setting Goals for the New School Year

As those of you how have been following me for a while know, I like to set goals twice a year!  Most of us have taken the summer off from practicing, so now is a really good time to look ahead at what you want to accomplish over the next few months.

Here are some things to think about while you are setting your goals.

Step one:  Think about what it is that you want to accomplish.  For example, I want to work on cleaning up my playing and getting rid of the little squeaks that happen when I play.  You could pick working on third position, working on vibrato, working on playing faster.  You will notice that I worded these “working on third position” and not “mastering third position”.  In music, it is almost impossible to master a technique, but you can definitely improve a lot if you set your mind to it.  You could also pick a goal like learning a new piece that you have always wanted to learn.

goal without plan is just wishStep two:  Come up with an action plan.  For example, in order to clean up my playing I am going to record myself every week and listen back to that recording to see where I am squeaking.  I did this when I was recording my most recent album, and it was immensely helpful!  If you are working on a technique you may want to plan on spending a certain amount of time each day working on it.  If you are learning a new piece, you may need to combine a couple of these ideas as well as work on new techniques needed for the piece while learning the piece itself.

Step three:  Show up and do the work.  Last year I recorded myself every week, but I neglected to actually listen to those recordings.  You will only accomplish your goals if you make the effort and put in the time!

If you are taking lessons, when you start up for the fall, talk to your teacher about what you want to accomplish, and then the two of you can put together a plan to make it happen.

Happy fiddling!

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