Setting goals




In order to improve as a musician, you will have to set yourself clear targets. They will give a noticeable boost to your practice.

Long-term objectives may feel more like dreams than realistic goals, but too much realism can fetter you and cause you to set the bar unnecessarily low. Even though many people don't dare publicly announce that they are aiming to be, for example, section principal in a top international orchestra ("it's not realistic", "don't reach for the moon") your personal dreams are your motivation and give a clear direction to your efforts. There is great power in wanting something: if you truly want something, you will find a way of getting it.

You must, however, set concrete intermediate goals, such as "I will be able to play this concerto by May". For many people, setting goals for a week or a single practice session is the most difficult. You will, however, find that deciding what to work on during each session will make your practice more effective. If you make it your goal to learn one difficult passage, you will have taken another small step forward.

You should be ready to change your goals as necessary. Have the courage to set new targets if you find that you have set yourself inappropriate or impractical goals.


Think about what you want to be doing as a musician in, for example, four years time. What are the intermediate goals you need to set to achieve your long-term objective? What, for example, do you need to master during the current year? What are the concrete short-term goals that will benefit your efforts, such as what is the goal of today's practice session?Carefully learning just a few bars a day will take you forward. Every journey starts with a single step.”