Whether you enjoy making New Year's resolutions or not, a new year is still a great time to plan your future goals. Professionals and beginners alike know that musical study is continuous. Making a music-related resolution is a great way to clarify your ambitions and reflect on your current progress. Here are some great goals for music students and musicians of all skill levels:
If you haven't already, start your instrument studies this new year! Commit to sticking with lessons for several months and find a time and teacher that works with your schedule.
January is a great time to sign up for lessons - many schools offer specials or discount during the New Year. West Colfax Music Academy is offering up to 60% off new enrollments - click here to learn more!
Learn a New Instrument
If you've already studied your primary instrument for several years, consider picking up a new instrument. The musical skills you've gained thus far will give you a leg up and the novelty of a different approach to music will inspire your creativity. Adding additional instrument studies can change your entire approach to your current playing.
Not sure what to choose? Certain instruments are inherently complimentary to each other. Guitarists learn to sing and vocalists can accompany themselves on guitar; pianists can explore other percussion instruments; cello players can try upright bass, etc.
Whatever you choose, it's bound to benefit your overall abilities and liven up your current studies.
Amp Up Your Practice Routine
Perfecting your practice routine is an ongoing part of being a musician. However, don't simply resolve to 'practice more'!
Take a minute and reflect on your practice habits over the past year. Where do you see room to improve? It could be that you indeed need to carve out more time - if so, how much is realistic and what days/times fit your schedule best?
Your practice routine also may need to be more effective. Be honest about how often you focus things like sightreading, rhythm reading, playing with a metronome, etc versus just playing through pieces and exercises you already know and enjoy.
Once you've identified the areas in which you'd like to improve, commit to making a few changes consistently instead of drastically mixing up your established routine. You'll be much more likely to stick with your goals and build better habits by incorporating changes slowly and steadily.
Tackle a Challenge Piece
Level up your playing by tackling a challenging piece. Find something that will push your boundaries but isn't wholly unrealistic given your current experience. You'll build technique and skill more effectively (and have more fun) if your challenge is piece isn't too daunting.
However, if you are really dreaming about mastering, say, the third movement of Moonlight Sonata, a complicated jazz solo, or lightning fast double kicks on the kit, go for it! Just keep your expectations realistic by focusing on smaller sections of a piece or improving the required technique instead of completing an entire song.
Study a Different Style
Much like switching instruments, studying a different musical style will open you up to new ways of thinking about music. Classical pianists learn funk voicings, rock drummers can experiment with electronic beats, violinists can try their hand at bluegrass fiddle stylings. Whatever your preferred style of music, learning about a new style will undoubtedly inspire you and broaden your musical horizons.