Happy New Year! As each year comes to a close, millions of people vow to enter the following year a better person.
Here are some ideas for musicians to make 2019 your best year yet:
- Create a practice routine that sticks. If you struggle with practicing consistently, dedicate the new year to finding a practice plan which is efficient and enjoyable. Do you function best early in the morning, late at night, or sometime in between? Do you like to break your practicing into smaller time chunks or do one larger session? Figure out what works best for you so you can practice more consistently in 2019. Here’s my guide to creating a well-balanced practice routine.
- Complete the 100 days of practice challenge. Made popular by violinist Hilary Hahn, the 100 day practice challenge is a great practice goal for the new year. Join musicians from around the world as you complete the challenge by using #100daysofpractice or other similar tags. If 100 days seems too daunting, commit to any number which fits your age, schedule, and ability level.
- Listen to a new piece every day. Expand your knowledge of classical music (or any genre!) by listening to a new piece every day. For longer works, you can break into movements, acts, or smaller sections. Synthesize your auditory experience by studying the composer, era, and other historical details.
- Learn a new technique. Make a list of new techniques or skills you would like to learn this year. They can be extended techniques (such as circular breathing, double tonguing, etc) or more standard (transposition, music theory, etc).
- Sign up for a musicians’ wellness class. Invest in your physical and mental health by taking a course such as yoga for musicians, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, mindfulness, meditation, or anything else that interests you.
- Create a savings plan for your musical goals. Being a musician can get pretty expensive! Make a list of any upcoming expenses, such as a new instrument, summer festival, conference, audition, or any other big purchases. Brainstorm ways to start saving now so you aren’t caught off guard when you get the bill.
- Take an audition or schedule a performance. The real joy of music is not found in a practice room – it’s when you share your music with others! Sign up for an upcoming audition or schedule a recital so you can share your talent with others.
- Update your press kit. Take a look at your resume, CV, website, social media pages, and anything else which might need a refresh. This is also a great time to schedule new headshots if yours are out of date.
- Take private lessons. If you want to optimize your individual efforts, find a private instructor who can help you achieve your musical goals. Here’s everything you need to know to find the right private teacher for you or your child. (FYI, if you’re looking for clarinet lessons, I offer private clarinet instruction through Skype – find out more here.)
Whatever goals you decide to pursue, make sure that you maintain control of the outcome. For example, don’t vow to win 5 auditions this year, since you have no control over the outcomes. Music is qualitative, not quantitative, so make sure you set clear goals which are completely within your control.
Happy New Year! Wishing you continued health, happiness, and wonderful music in 2019 and beyond!