Reach for the skies – Practice planning part 3

New-Year-Practice-Preparation-3If you could do anything in music what would it be? Most of us have mused on this and have daydreams about what it might be like. Few however take it to the next stage and actually make a plan to make their dreams happen. In preparing your practice plan you should start with some Major Goals – things you would like to achieve in the long term. You should always start with these major goals as the basis for your practice plan as they will help focus you shorter targets and tasks and help keep your motivation when things don’t seem to be progressing as you would like.

Dream big
Don’t be afraid when setting your major goals to dream big. The world is your oyster! All the big names in music you can think of started somewhere. At this stage you can allow your imagination to run wild. If there were no obstacles what would you really like to do? Be a soloist? Play in an orchestra? Get a record deal? Have a good think about this and note down your ideas. Then pick the 2 or 3 ideas which you think you’d most like to achieve. Pick too many ideas and the risk is that you’ll spread your motivation too thinly and achieve none of them.

Be realistic
Having thought about what your ideal role in music might be you next need to temper this with a degree of realism. Which of these dreams is right for you? Which could you realistically achieve? However please don’t confuse realism with pessimism. If you think you really can achieve a goal and you have the desire you should go for it.

Be specific
If you are too vague with your goal descriptions you will be less likely to achieve them. You will also more likely lose focus and allow yourself to fail. You could pretend that you achieved a slightly different but related goal – all too often used as a get out. So please don’t have a major goal which says “I want to play in an orchestra” or “I want a record deal”. Instead have something much more specific such as “I want to be principle flute in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra” or “I want a 5 album deal with Island records”.

Visualise
Once you’ve gotten specific it is time to continue dreaming. Spend some time trying to visualise what it will be like to achieve these goals. What would it look like? Feel like? Sound like? How will you feel having made your dreams come true. Try to imagine every detail and make sure to spend time doing this regularly.

Set date
One sure way to miss a goal is to not set a date. Without a date you will pretend you have more time and that you will achieve your goals in the future. Having a date written down will keep you moving forward and keep you motivated.

Write down and share
The last thing to do once you have spent sometime considering what your major musical will be is to write them down. This has the benefit of finalising the goal by sharing it with others. This last point is key. Share your goals with your friends, teacher and parents. They will help support and motivate you when the going gets tough and you will also want to retain pride in showing these people what you can achieve.

In the next part we will start to discuss how you break your major goals down into shorter parts that will speed your progress.

Continue: Build supports – Practice planning part 4

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