Setting goals for anything is a good idea, goal setting for learning an instrument like the guitar is a must. This article will cover some handy strategies for setting realistic goals in your guitar playing along with highlighting the best similar content from the web.
Setting goals is akin to trying to catch fireflies on a warm summers eve; once you have one safely in the jar, you look around in the dark to find a load more flying around that you know want and which will light up your jar even further. It is just a case of getting close enough to catch them. Grab a piece a paper and lets mind map out a personal path towards achieving your aims on guitar.
So what is the first step in setting goals? Well, the big picture: what do you want to accomplish with the guitar? What ever the answer stick that at the top in the middle of the page. Is it: being able to a play a certain piece or set of pieces? Is it completing a particular technique? or maybe just be able to play through a set of pieces? What ever it is try and boil it down to no more than 3 words; define your main goal at the moment (check this post out from the Bulletproof Musician for more info on this). For this example lets utilize the tremolo technique and in particular the wish to being able to play Tarrega’s Receurdos del Alhambra piece. So with that in mind I define my main goal as:
Play tremolo well
Then we start to flesh out the next goal which is going to be slightly more focused, but not too much. In our example that would be:
Play Recuerdos Del Alhambra
Thinking about the goal above, what do we need to do to achieve it? Break the question into smaller parts, each one more achievable as they descend the page. So the mind map would look a little like this as you broke down, brainstormed and problem solved each entry:
Tremolo technique Chords
Right hand exercises 1st sect. chord shapes
PIMA Movement Tricky Shapes in sect. 1
one string PIMA, PAMI Sect. 1 chords: tricky shifts
As you go through this list, you should begin to see exactly what needs to be done each week (if you have a deadline) or everyday to achieve this goal. Each entry should begin to narrow down the problem until you are left with a set of daily small steps, a to do list, that walks you back up the page to your main goal. In this example that would be a set of right hand exercises for tremolo and learning the chords and piece section by section.
In essence this is exactly what goal setting is: small achievable steps to a big (currently unbelievable) aim. See this post from the Bulletproof Musician for some more insight.
Goals should be SMART!
For a great in depth article on setting life goals check out this post from the Mindtools blog. And another great post from the Bulletproof Musician (yes we like him a lot here) on Goal setting strategies.
picture courtesy of the Pocket Universe app – bye it here.