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The Art Of Practicing, Part 6: Goals

Kategori: The Art Of Practicing

A great way to develop your guitar playing is to set goals. This is a method that can be applied to many things in life and is used by many companies and athletes - a goal canfor an example be to reach a budget or to jump over a bar at a certain height. This works well for the guitar as well, both for technical issues and more theoretical stuff. Here´s a few things that are noteworthy when working with goals:
Your goal needs to be something that can be measured. For example to play a lick at a certain tempo, to know where every D note is on the fretboard or to nail a song without a single technical miss. More vague things, like improvising, doesn´t apply that well when working with goals. If you can measure your progress it´s easy to follow it up, and you will know if you´ve nailed the goal or not.
To work efficiently against a goal you should set up a deadline. If your aim is to play an A major arpeggio in 16th notes at a tempo of 140 Bpm, then decide when you should have reached this goal. To work against a deadline will make you more motivated to make the progress and put in the work needed to achieve the goal.
Your goal has to be realistic. If it´s too far over your head you won´t have a chance to reach it in time and you´ll only get frustrated. Know your strengths, know how good you are (if you don´t know, measure it with the aid of a metronome or ask someone with knowledge) and then set a goal that is possible for you to reach.
Small goals
It´s better to set man small goals instead of a large one. Sure, many small goals can lead up to the big one, but it´s the little steps that counts. So instead of making a big goal with a timeplan of six months, make six smaller goals, one for each month. Or even better, make one for every week. Smaller steps are easier to take, and when you count them all together they will make one giant leap in the end.
Make a plan
Make a plan for how you shall work to reach your goal. How much time do you need to put in every day? What tools do you need, do you need help from anyone and what is the best way to practice the problem you want to solve? And don´t use all your time on this issue, you still need to practice things you already know to maintain your knowledge that you´ve acquired on your instrument in the past.
Follow up
Follow up your goals when the deadline has passed. Did you make it? Or not? Why? Was the goal too hard or too easy? If you failed, make a new plan for how you´re going to reach the goal. Maybe you´ll need more time, maybe you´ll need more focus or maybe you need a different angle on the issue. Don't despair if you fail, deal with it. And if you succeed; great, now set a new goal!
To work against a goal is a great way to get better at an instrument, so instead of aimless practice that will only lead to slow progress - set a goal today, get to work and make that progress!
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