With the coming year around the corner, now's the time to reflect and plan your guitar study goals for 2017. Start with these five points...
Are you looking at the end of 2016 and wondering why you didn’t achieve more? Why didn’t you learn all of your scales? Why didn’t you get going on your rhythm studies? Why didn’t you record more of your songs?
When you look at goals from a large-scale point of view and evaluate how you did on your quest to achieve them, it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to say, “What’s the point anyway?” Big-picture goals are fantastic and it’s important to dream big, but sometimes you need to take a step back to look at ways to create forward momentum.
1. Get real about where you currently stand
Maybe you’re a guitar player who just purchased an in-depth guitar course, but you've barely scratched the surface with it. You had plans to be at chapter 3 by now, but chapter one is still on your music stand. You need to start by asking yourself whether chapter three was a realistic goal at this point.
What’s the time frame required for learning every chapter? Could you realistically accomplish the learning of each chapter in the time frame you hope? Be honest with yourself about your current ability to learn new material before setting pie-in-the-sky goals. Analyze the material and determine time frames for digesting the information(and be real about it).
Watch my lesson on: "Intermediate Guitar Players Practice Tips" It will help you get started with learning how to organize a plan. You can download the handout by visiting my blog-site
2. Evaluate your assets
What do you do when you begin a new study of material? Do you create a practice plan? Do you list plateaus you want to reach with the material?
It's important to take stock of the success points that the material has to offer you and you should have a place to reach with it. Always think it terms of what can you do after learning the material that you can't do now. This future planning will work to help take you to the next level.
Maybe you’ve had notable gains in your technique after learning a new picking drill or you've established better work on your music sight-reading and chart reading with a new jazz book. Maybe you're on a better footing with a new course and you're feeling like you have a more established level of skill than before.
If you're at ground zero with study material, you need to look at whether you pre-plan your development based on the course and the methods chapters alone, or are there questions that you should ask yourself to take current stock and evaluate your assets.
3. Look at what's achievable
Now that you’ve identified your assets, it’s time to look at what you can achieve based on where you stand and what you have going for you. If you want to learn how to solo on several styles of progressions but don’t have enough experience playing jazz yet, then look at learning how to play through some simple jazz numbers that are more at your level.
If you want to flip your original band over to become a top-40 cover group, but you have no music in the top-40 area to draw from, you'll need to research current set-lists of top-40 songs and get dedicated to discovering the set-lists of other top-40 bands (both locally and in other cities).
You can find these on both a big and a small scale by researching blogs and band websites. You're going to have to be ultra realistic about why someone would want to support your top-40 band as opposed to other club acts in town, and about what you can achieve at this stage (since your band is an original group and know of as one in your scene).
Again, it's all about planning, but it's also about taking stock for what is achievable.
4. Set weekly goals
Now, look at what you hope to achieve on a weekly basis. When you micro target your goals and make them more achievable, you tend to be smarter about your approach.
Although counterproductive to casting a wide net, you'll probably achieve more in the long run by doing less and only focusing on what has the greatest chance of success.
By making your goals more realistic and achievable, you're also going to be more apt to create momentum from successes. Every day, take one first step toward your weekly goal until you’ve achieved it.
5. Evaluate your weekly success
At the end of the week, evaluate whether you achieved your goal. If you’ve achieved the goal, make a list of three reasons why. If you haven’t, look at three reasons why you didn’t and list one additional step that you can take to improve your plan in the next week ahead.
To dream big, you need to start small. The greatest successes are often made by the smallest, smart steps.
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