As a musician, you’ve probably heard a version of this old joke:
A tourist stops a harried-looking maestro on the street in New York and asks, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” In every variation of the joke, the punchline is “Practice!”
No matter what your musical goals, you already know practice is the key to becoming a better musician. By making the decision to create an effective training plan, you’ve taken an important first step. You’re on your way!
But on your way to where exactly? Launching a training plan without a clear direction is like setting out on a road trip without a map. You might think simply wanting to get somewhere and having a car is enough. But without a map, the journey will be long and frustrating. Creating a clear strategy for how and why you’re practicing – what you’re trying to achieve – is the best way to ensure that you will see the results you’re looking for.
Becoming a better musician requires planning. That’s why we have a whole section of modules inside Musical U dedicated to planning.
Planning well doesn’t have to be complicated. Design your training plan with the 3 essential strategies below and your odds of success are immediately increased.
1. Have a clear objective in mind.
Wanting to simply “get better” is too ambiguous. Be as specific as possible in defining exactly what it is you hope to accomplish. Drill down and get clear on your end objective.
Write your goals down somewhere that you can easily see and track, such as a progress journal.
If you’re stuck figuring out how to set a clear end goal, take a moment to imagine yourself at the end of your six-week plan. What does it look like? Are you playing a solo show? Making more money busking? Are you playing music by ear? Once you figure out what success looks like, you’ve figured out what your objective is.
2. Define the steps you’ll take to reach your goal.
Assess where you are and compare it to where you want to be. Then, determine the smaller steps you’ll take to get there. Write those down in your training plan. Steps should be logical and sequential, each building on the one before it.
If you’ve ever been on a weight loss program, you know that a goal to lose three sizes in a short timeframe can seem overwhelming. But setting specific daily behaviors for yourself, such as “exercise 20 minutes five times a week,” makes it easier. Similarly, if your objective is playing a sonata, breaking it down into steps makes it less daunting.
3. Get community support.
The support of a community is an essential element of a successful plan. Having a community of people working toward similar goals is more than just camaraderie. Communities share tips, make connections, and provide the opportunity to learn from one another’s successes and mistakes. Giving and receiving support from other musicians is a priceless investment in improving your skills.
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Becoming a better musician starts with the decision to create a training plan that includes clear objectives, step-by-step plans, and community support. Now, ensure your success by gaining access to the best, most powerful resources and the right learning community: join Musical U today!
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