It’s the time of the year when social media feeds are filled with empty promises and posts with the hashtag “New Year, New Me.” Unfortunately, most of these New Year’s Resolutions are doomed to fail. Studies show that 91% of folks who make New Year’s Resolutions will not achieve their goals.
While most people shoot for weight-loss goals or to save money, musicians can use this time of the year to develop more targeted initiatives. If you want to be a part of the 9% who do hit their New Year’s Resolutions, consider these key goal-setting parameters:
- Set challenging and specific goals.
- Choose goals that you are willing to pursue with relentless passion and drive.
- Establish a support system to help you navigate through a loss of motivation or procrastination.
- Keep your focus on the smaller goals and milestones to accomplish your larger goals.
With these principles in mind, seasoned music industry veteran Martin Backhausen explains three attainable and rewarding New Year’s Resolutions for musicians.
New Year’s Resolution #1: Practice Smarter
“One of the most frustrating sentiments is that ‘Practice makes perfect.’ It doesn’t! Consider this: if you practice every day for three hours writing your numbers backward, you will probably be pretty good at writing numbers backward. This doesn’t mean you’re good at writing numbers. And practicing your craft is the same. It’s all about developing good habits to produce better results,” explains Martin Backhausen.
One way he suggests musicians can practice smarter is to work with a coach or teacher to establish a practice routine. When creating your practice routine, make sure to keep these elements in mind:
- Have a goal for each practice session — before you start playing.
- Develop a proper warm-up to prevent injury, improve skills, and build strength.
- Schedule practice time into your days. Set up calendar alerts and take them seriously.
- Schedule “Insurance Sessions” as a backup for missed sessions.
- Create a practice session outline based on your overarching goal. Make sure to stick to this outline.
- Be consistent
New Year’s Resolution #2: Go to An Audition(s)
“I get it. Being a musician is a little scary. I very distinctly remember my first audition. The competition was extremely fierce, and I truthfully had no chance. However, it was only by attending that I could get an idea of where I stood and what I needed to do to be a better musician,” says Martin Backhausen. And this highlights his second New Year’s resolution for musicians — to go on auditions. In addition to exposure, auditions are excellent for getting constructive feedback, conquering stage fright, and gaining new experiences. He continues, “You never know what you may get or learn from an audition. Even when I didn’t get the part, I always left the audition better than I went in.”
New Year’s Resolution #3:Create Your Online Portfolio
Creating an online portfolio or website can be daunting, but it’s more than worth your time. When you have an online portfolio, you can store and organize your recordings, repertoire, and original music in a single place. “Think of your online portfolio like your online resume. It’s what can distinguish you from other musicians. And creating a portfolio is easy —thanks to professional website services like WordPress, GoDaddy, Squarespace, and others,” Backhausen concludes. In the end, having an online portfolio will let others know that you are very serious about your music, and it’s the perfect ambition to add to your New Year’s Resolutions.