Setting SMART Music Goals helps ensure your musical goals are as focused as possible. SMART is an acronym with various possible meanings. I find these most useful for music
If you ensure your musical goals conform to the SMART goals plan, you are one step further towards ensuring your success in achieving them.
State exactly what your goal is in as much detail as possible. "Get better at playing piano" isn't a specific goal. Improve my scales so I can play them all at 80bpm is specific as is Play Fur Elise with 100% correct notes. A music goal of Join an orchestra and progress to first trumpet is better than become a better trumpet player
How will you test your progress towards your goal? What steps do you need to take to get there? If your goal is Pass Grade VIII with distinctionand you are currently about to take Grade V, what steps do you need to achieve between Grade V and your goal? These help mark your progress and are especially important when you have long term goals. They help you see where you are in relation to the time frame for the goal and allow you a sense of achievement and moving forward, even when your goal may still be a long way.
When you set a goal talk to your teacher and your parents or partner about the goal and agree your goal with them. Is it realistic? Talk to your teacher about whether the goal is attainable in your time frame? Make sure you have the support of those around you, especially if you are setting a very difficult goal to achieve.
Will you find striving to achieve this goal rewarding? Remember music is to be enjoyed. It is sometimes very hard work and the enjoyment comes from our sense of achievement and from the enjoyment of those we perform to. If you set yourself a goal that involves working all the time with no time to reward yourself, will you give up? There are few people in the world who have the mental and physical characteristics to become top concert soloists for instance. The work is intense and the rewards are a long way off (if they ever come. There are many others striving for that target as well remember.) I'm not saying you aren't one of them...just make sure you know what you are letting yourself in for. Set up interim goals in a shorter time frame to help you climb the ladder.
What is the time frame for achieving the goal? Is it realistic? Have you given yourself so long the project is no longer challenging?
Having SMART music goals helps you make sure you are always moving forward with your playing.
Click here for more information on how to set SMART goals effectively for music practice.
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