I love the beginning of a new year. It's easy to dream and plan and be excited. As a guitarist, it's a great opportunity to reflect on your past progress and set new goals for the future. Today's tip will help you out with this process.
When setting any goals, it's essential that you begin with the destination clearly in mind. Imagine you've arrived as a guitar player. What skills do you have? What kind of gigs are you playing? Are you in a band or are you a solo artist? Are you in demand as a session player? It's ok to dream big...that's the idea here. Once you've spent some time thinking about your ultimate guitar goals, write them down. Until you do this you'll just be spinning your wheels.
Once you know exactly where you want to go as a guitar player, begin to work backwards to figure out what skills and experience you'll need to make your goals a reality. For instance, if you want to be a jazz player you'll need to memorize lots of standard tunes, know all your major, minor, pentatonic and symmetrical scales (and their modes), be comfortable with extended harmonies, know how to improvise through changes, etc. Get specific about the skills you'll need to be the guitar player you want to be. Once you've done this, write it down.
Now that you know where you want to go and you know what skills it will take to get there, you can start breaking it down into specific goals to work towards in your practice. If you want to play jazz guitar, you know you'll need to memorize lots of tunes. Turn that into a measurable goal. For example, take a different tune every month and learn the melody, the chord progression and be able to improvise a chord tone solo over it. You could spend the first week of the month learning the melody in as many places on the neck as possible. The second week you could focus on memorizing the chords and comping your way through the tune. The final two weeks of the month you could work on improvising over the tune. Repeat with a new tune every month.
As a final step, tell someone else your goals. It could be your guitar teacher, a friend, a bandmate...anyone. Just make sure that they will be serious about keeping you accountable. Fill them in on your guitar playing goals and how you plan to achieve them, and schedule a weekly or bi-weekly meeting to check up on your progress.
I hope this year brings you lots of success in your guitar playing journey. If you want some help setting your goals or would like to see how I break down my goals by year, quarter and month, leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!
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