A 3-Step Plan to achieve your musical goals

Hey Improvisers,

Since the transition to a New Year is a natural time for renewal and rejuvenation, let’s take a moment to reflect on our individual musical goals and how to develop a 3-step plan for achieving them in the coming year.

First, let’s reflect upon what we know doesn’t work, and how to tap into a method that we know will actually work.

We know, from lots of experience, that resolving to “practice more” in the coming year probably won’t work. After all, we’ve been down this road before. We get all motivated to practice 3-6 hours per day but when life inevitably gets in the way, we lose motivation and blame ourselves for not staying the course. Even though it’s not our own fault, we all-too-often feel guilty for not practicing enough and failing in our efforts to improve as pianists.

So… if resolving to “practice more” is usually doomed to failure, then how can we go about this in a fun, productive way?

Well, I’m glad you asked!!!

This question is the key to the whole thing, and every musician whom we admire has successfully answered it for themselves.

We can do this too, and we can use the energy of a New Year to help us achieve our pianistic goals.

The help will come by writing out a 3-step plan. (Not just thinking about it, but actually taking a pen and paper and writing it out.)

You already know what to do, right? Somewhere, in the back of your mind, you know exactly what will get you to where you want to go, musically. You know what will help you develop into the musician you want to be.

Let’s get started!

1. First, write down what will motivate you to practice on a regular basis. (Think about being in contact with another musician or group of musicians who will continually give you the energy and inspiration to play piano.)

2. Then, write down what’s currently missing in your playing, and what will help you play the way you mentally imagine yourself playing. (Hint: it doesn’t start with learning more complex chord voicings – that’s what comes more easily after you develop rhythmic fluency and fluidity. If you don’t develop rhythmic fluency and fluidity first, then you’ll just sound the same as you do now, but with different notes.)

3. Finally, write down one specific, actionable step you can take right now to get started with numbers 1 and 2 above.

That’s it! That’s what Chick Corea, Norah Jones, Keith Emerson, Bud Powell, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and all our musical idols did at some point in their musical development. And the great thing is that we can do this too. It’s available to us all!

Happy New Year!


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