Thursday, October 04, 2007

Goal Setting Part 1 of 3: Short Term Goals

One of the best ways to jump start a practice routine is by working toward something, and there is nothing like setting a deadline in order to get work done. Today we will be looking at short-term goals and how they can focus your practice.

Here are some examples of common short-term goals:
  • Master the ornaments in a Baroque piece
  • Sort out the left hand of a tricky piece
  • Play a piece with solid rhythm at a slow tempo
  • Increase the tempo of a piece by several metronome markings
  • Master a difficult passage once and for all
  • Learn that darned F minor formula pattern
  • Memorize the first movement of a sonata
  • Fit in regular practice times all week
Not life-changing goals, but goals nonetheless that move along your playing and take you to the next step. In Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, author David Allen talks about the importance of immediately identifying next actions and completing them as a way to increased productivity. Setting a few short-term goals can very quickly put you on the road to getting out of a rut and improving steadily. Teacher's remarks in lesson notebooks are classic examples of this--students ignore their teacher's concise weekly assignments at their peril...

What are your short-term practice goals?

Next: Medium Term Goals

1 comment:

  1. All of those short-term goals you've mentioned ring a bell with me.

    This year, I have 10 students trying out Conservatory Canada's Contemporary Idioms syllabus. One of my short-term goals is to get a better handle on the technical requirements. Playing all the modes and jazz melodic minor scales, ii7 and other chords have been fun, but it sure works my brain!

    I also want to get a better handle faking so that 1 - I'll feel more confident teaching it and 2 - I can walk into this year's slate of Christmas gigs with only my Reader's Digest book and a couple of fake books.

    Ditto for improvising in the Latin, Swing and Rock genres.