It's a new year, and that means new goals and resolutions are underway! At this time last year, no one could have possibly predicted what was to come in 2020, so some goals and resolutions may have shifted or slowed a little as a result, which is totally normal.
But this year, we have a clean slate, and the opportunity to start fresh with our music goals! Remember, you are not comparing your own violin-learning journey to anyone else's, and as long as you are doing better than you were yesterday, you are still making progress.
Here are five, brand new, realistic violin goals to kick off your 2021!
Record yourself. Whether it be weekly or monthly, taking a quick audio (or video!) recording of yourself playing your current pieces/tunes is a fantastic way to track your playing progress. In a few months or at the end of the year, you will be able to look back and see the strides you've made!
Keep a practice journal. Having a violin-specific notebook is handy for jotting things down during your lessons, as well as tracking your progress. Like with the recordings, it's fun to flip through and see what you were working on earlier in the year and where you're at now. It's truly motivational!
Listen to music. You are most likely already listening to music recreationally, but are you also listening to different recordings of the pieces/tunes you are currently learning? This is a great way to stay inspired and can help you to learn faster, as it develops your ear. It can also be insightful to listen to music of various genres that you might not be as familiar with, and see what commonalities you can find between your tried and true listening preferences and something totally different and new! This not only helps with your violin skills, but becoming a well-rounded musician in general.
Write your own tune. This may sound scary, but it's really not as difficult as you think! Next time you are practicing and need a mental break, try improvising. If this is totally out of your comfort zone, you can start by playing a scale, then playing it again, this time with the notes out of order and adding some new rhythms. If you like what you come up with, write it down! This not only is a great exercise for your music writing/reading abilities, but you may also find that you really enjoy coming up with your own melodies and can begin to explore that more!
Relax. If you only follow one goal from this list, let it be this one. I preach about relaxation all of the time with my students and in my YouTube videos, and there is a good reason for that! Keeping your body relaxed while you play is the best thing you can do for yourself. It prevents injury, eases our mind, and allows us to produce a smooth and consistent sound. For whatever reason, when we are just starting out with a new instrument, it is easier to tense up than to relax. If you make even a little bit of a conscious effort to find ease in your playing, you will thank yourself later. Trust me.
I hope you can commit to some or all of these goals this year, and find growth in your playing and learning! Wishing you all the best in your music journey this year. Happy practicing!