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Goal Setting for Music & Practising for Success in 2021

Goal Setting for Music & Practising for Success in 2021

We all know the old adage “practice makes perfect”.

And with the start of the New Year (and the year that was 2020!) behind us, it wouldn’t be surprising to know that on the top of most musician’s lists, there’s one bullet point: I will practice more often.

So to help, we’d like to start off the new year of 2021 by inspiring you to shift the goalposts, from striving to achieve perfection, to mastering the art of breaking down hard-to-reach goals into smaller adaptable steps.

Whether you’re a parent with a young musician, someone who’d love to finally pick up that stringed instrument as your New Year's resolution, or a music teacher hoping to inspire your students in fresh ways - here’s how together we can achieve our musical goals for 2021.

For kids and for the parents

Fitting in school and other activities

If you’re a parent looking in dismay at your child’s school calendar this year, fear not! There are a few ways you can make this all more manageable.

First step? Take some time before the madness of the year and school term hits, to map out what this year might look like for your child. This doesn’t have to be too formal at all. It can be a Sunday afternoon activity where for around 30 minutes, uninterrupted, you jot down, and goal plan for the year ahead.

Read what to expect when your child starts music lessons here.

Here are some thought starters to help you guide your conversation with them:

  • What would you like to achieve this year?
  • Alright. Let’s stretch that goal. What is something that if you’d achieved by the end of the year, it’d blow your mind?
  • What do you feel like you can improve on this new year?
  • How will you go about doing that, and what will be your reward if you achieve it month by month? And what will be your reward by the end of the 12 months? (e.g. Month by month: 30 minute practices, before watching their favourite TV show. At the end of the year: New stringed instrument?)

These questions will help you set smaller goals and make it more of a joint effort.

It encourages them to write down the 12-month goals. Break them down by actionables each month and week. Which makes it more realistic and achievable.

Read what to do when children baulk at music practice here.

For those thinking of those new year resolutions

Challenging yourself, while keeping your passion

If you’ve picked up an instrument as a hobby, as do most of us, we sometimes fall into the trap of measuring our progress through specific pieces, and thus sometimes pigeonholing us into playing specific genres or time periods.

Well, 2021 might be the year to challenge that.

Find ways to push your out of your comfort zone by incorporating practices that you would have never done before. Experiment experiment experiment. That? Is where the real music magic comes.

Haven't purchased an instrument yet? Read the pros and cons of renting vs buying here.

Play around with what sounds good or have a crack at composing your own piece. Maybe learn to play a well-loved piece backwards, just for the challenge. Focus on just one passage, and think of the different emotions, speeds, or dynamics that can be altered to change the tone of the piece. Or even find a friend to play with – even if they play a different instrument!

By pushing yourself past your own boundaries, and listening and practicing more widely, you will begin to feel more comfortable with your instrument, and your own growing knowledge of music and music theory.

For teachers and educators

Teaching beyond exams

As a teacher, it can be quite challenging to juggle students, their wants and needs, what their parents want out of their learning experience, and reaching the big scary exam goal around June/July to October/November exam periods.

A great goal for 2021, to make it more fun for yourself and your students, is to try and set ‘checkpoints’ for children to reach – small wins through, mini challenges.

For example, if one of your students loves the Frozen 2 movies, and have been wanting to learn a song from the movie, you can motivate them by setting smaller goals leading up to it. Let’s say, a trill drill, three times a week for two weeks?

For your own personal goals, consider what you would like to achieve this year, career-wise.

Find out the Top 7 Apps every studio teacher needs here.

What areas too, would you like to be better in? How can you better the experience for your school community and for your students?

If you are on the search for new, not-so-traditional events and professional development conferences, then make sure you keep an eye out for what we at Simply for Strings have brewing for 2021 as we shine the spotlight on our teachers and educators and give them the chance to broaden their own horizons through a series of Professional Development courses.

Teachers help us begin our musical journeys, so it only made sense to give back to the heart of our community. If you’re a teacher or educator, keep your eyes peeled for courses on teacher leadership, understanding children and learning behaviours, and teaching methodologies.

And the best part? The Professional Development courses are certified (therefore it’ll be counted under your 10 hours of professional development required per year) and come with a supportive community and environment.

Keep an eye out on the Simply for Strings website and newsletter for updates!

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