A New kind of New Year’s resolution

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution that you didn’t keep? Like “lose 20 lbs this year?” or “Practice piano for 3 hours a day?” Sometimes those are great and we do keep them. But all too often we don’t follow through with our resolutions, and there’s one simple reason for this: we don’t make room in our lives for them. Both in terms of time and in view of our emotional lives. Following through with the resolution would mean changing the way we live in a bigger way then we anticipate.

If this resonates with you, then let’s try a different approach. Here’s a New kind of New Year’s resolution:

Fill in the blanks in the following statement:

For a full year, when I ________, I’ll focus on__________.

For example:

For a full year, when I listen to jazz, I’ll focus on Bill Evans.
For a full year, when I put on music in the car, I’ll focus on listening to piano-based rock songs.
For a full year, when I practice piano, I’ll focus on chordal accompaniments for the first 15 minutes.
For a full year, when I sit down at the piano, I’ll focus on playing walking bass lines to Real Book tunes.
For a full year, when I practice piano, I’ll focus on soloing over rootless LH voicings.

The beauty of this approach is that it doesn’t box us in. And it doesn’t force us to change our whole lives in order to pursue our goal. Rather, we’re opening up a way to pursue our goal within our already-established patterns of life.

Do you want to learn advanced chords? Great! Well, you already practice piano right? So make it your goal to focus on extended harmonies when you sit down at the piano. No need to increase your practice time to an unattainable length on a daily basis. Believe me, you’ll get plenty of chordal practice over the course of a year. And, looking back at this next New Year’s Day, you’ll find yourself at a whole new level with your harmonies.

The same thing applies to anything you want to play on piano, or a pianist you’d like to learn from. Just take a moment and fill in the blanks:

For a full year, when I ________, I’ll focus on__________.

Good luck and as always, “let the music flow!”

PS – I took the photo at the top of this post just a few minutes past midnight on January 1, 2018. The temperature was -13°F and I was standing on the frozen Saranac Lake in upstate New York during the town’s New Year’s celebration. It was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever experienced. I hope your New Year is happy, healthy, and full of music!

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