How To Set And Achieve Your Music Goals

As musicians, both teachers and students alike have wide ranging goals that may deal with performative aspects of their craft as well as pursuing and achieving career opportunities. Goals in music are very person specific, addressing our own unique paths and interests and the role music plays in our lives.

The new year is an excellent time for a fresh start and to set goals for the months to come. That said, less than 10% of New Year’s resolutions are ever achieved, so it’s critical to find ways to stay focused and on track to achieving those goals. Music goals for 2022 should inspire you to make time for it and keep a smile on your face through the year.

How do you set music goals for yourself?

Setting goals can often be a major challenge for those unfamiliar with it or who lack the drive to improve. In order to set goals for yourself, it’s important to consider these important steps to realization:

  1. Have a vision.
  2. Write it down.
  3. Look at your goals daily.
  4. Get help from trusted sources or professionals.
  5. Carve out time in your day.
  6. Believe in yourself.

Once you have the vision of where you want to be, and you have written down areas of emphasis on which you want to focus, you can make a plan and constantly remind yourself. Getting professional help in the form of taking lessons, for example, to help achieve these goals is a great way to stay on track and keep your motivation high.

What is a SMART target in music?

Setting SMART goals is an excellent way to organize the things you’d like to accomplish into a thoughtful, strategic way forward. We all have things on which we’d like to focus and areas in which we would like to improve. SMART goals for musicians give the structure needed with the best possible chance to succeed, in a way that builds confidence and self esteem. SMART is an acronym that help us remember the important elements of goals setting and how we can ensure we find success.

S – Be specific with your music goal. Have a very specific goal in mind. Without specificity, how will you know if the goal is achieved? For example, “get better at guitar” is non-specific. Getting better is subjective without any measurable way of knowing if you’re there yet. Consider something along the lines of “learn the entire rhythm guitar parts for two AC/DC songs, beginning to end, at record tempo in the original key”. Being specific gives clarity and makes the practice far more dialed in.

M- Make your goal measurable. How will you know if the specific goal is achieved? There has to be some barometer. “Getting better” is not measurable. “Transcribe a 32 bar Classic Rock guitar solo and play it back at record tempo” is a measurable goal that leaves little room for misunderstanding. In this particular case, transcribing 31 bars is not sufficient.

A- Make your music goal achievable. Setting the goal of playing center stage at the Super Bowl halftime show next year is unrealistic and will likely cause disappointment. In fact, setting goals to play record tempo guitar solos may also be unrealistic if you’re a pure beginner. Set a goal that aligns with your ability level and the progression track you’re following. For example, “practice 30 minutes every other day” is an achievable goal.

R- Is this goal relevant to your music plan? When setting goals, be certain to put emphasis on things that are important to your overall development and in line with your ultimate aspirations. Goals for singers might include memorizing lyrics and breath cadences, where drummers may not find the breath component as critical for their success.

T- Make your goals timely. By adding a component of time to your goals, you’re assigning when you can expect results. This can help motivate the goal setter and ensure that progress continues to be made.

What are some music goals I can have?

Woman taking online guitar lessonsMusic goals and objectives can range in flavor from practice to performance to business. Where students may wish to focus on learning new concepts and songs, professionals may incorporate business aspects into goal setting. Music goals for teachers may be an entirely different set of objectives that focus on students or building a private teaching practice.

Practice and performance goals may include things like tackling a new style of music or repertoire, adding new techniques into your tool box, composing and writing songs, learning new songs and solos, reading music or memorizing parts.

Students may wish to make goals that focus on learning songs by a specific band, or more complex techniques. Setting aside practice time can be a goal by itself. Music goals for beginners and those for more advanced students may differ greatly.

Goals for professional musicians may include forming new bands or ensembles, booking gigs and tours, merchandise development and sales, and building social media channels. Outreach to music clubs and venues, as well as development of press materials are all excellent goals for a professional musician looking to increase their performance calendar. These are examples of both longer term goals for musicians and short term goals for musicians.

Music teachers may have both performance and business goals aimed at creating a thriving teaching business, as well as expanding knowledge and repertoire to help scores of students that will hopefully be added to their roster. As a teacher, it’s critical to continually be honing your craft and expanding repertoire and stylistic expertise. Learning new methodologies, creating learning aids, and identifying useful teaching software are all great goals for music teachers. Here are some goals that music teachers can set for a successful year ahead:

  1. Apply for certification from a major methodology organization. (ABRSM, Suzuki, MTNA)
  2. Create a general lesson plan for a 1st lesson.
  3. Email follow ups to students no less than 24 hours after each lesson.
  4. Organize seasonal recitals in June and December.
  5. Download or start using music teaching, business software to organize and track lesson scheduling.

How do I stay focused and reach my music goals?

Staying focused on your music goals can be the biggest challenge. Making SMART goals is the best first step to staying focused, as it provides the structure needed to hold yourself accountable and measure success. Plus, it allows you to celebrate the success once achieved. Having relevant, achievable, measurable goals and a timeframe within which you can realize success is a great way to stay motivated and focused on the task at hand. Don’t forget, in addition to simply setting SMART goals, consider these other things to help you stay focused.

Make time. In order to achieve the goals, work needs to get done. And you can’t do work without the time to do it. Carve out time in your week when you will focus on this.

Eliminate distractions. When you are working on your goals, turn your phone off and avoid looking at social media. Find time where you can tune out the outside world and tune into getting better at what you have set your mind on.

Be reminded. Look at your goals daily. Repeat them to yourself. Thoughts become words and words become actions. If you constantly remind yourself of the task at hand, you are more likely to spend the time needed to achieve the end you set out to.

Believe in yourself. You can do it. It takes effort, but SMART goals ensure accountability. By making time, eliminating distractions, and reminding yourself, along with specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely goal setting, there is no limit to what can be accomplished.

How can I progress my music career?

Like any good music solo, the key is in forward motion. Setting goals is a proven path forward that can help any musician, from the purest of beginners to the most advanced. Progressing in your music journey will mean different things to different people.

Making progress can be as simple as finding more practice time during the week, or finally being able to play that song you have always loved. For others, progress will have very real career implications, like scheduling a performance at a major venue or selling a certain volume of merchandise through various sales channels. The beauty is, this all gets defined by the individual and what your ultimate aspirations are.

When it comes to performance goals and improving, consider working with trusted professionals like Forbes Music Company, who can help you set goals and make them become reality.

So if you’re ready to start learning music and achieving your goals contact us today to learn more about our in-home or online music lessons for every instrument and a variety of topics, all with the best music teachers.