6 Ways to Help Your Musical Resolutions Stick
We love the feeling of possibility and space that the New Year gives.
It’s important to take the time to look at your life and understand what’s working and not working for you and set some new challenges or goals, if that’s what’s needed. There’s a lot of cynicism around regarding New Year’s Resolutions but we’re big fans of what we think of as “positive resolutions”. These are resolutions that are really about bringing happiness in to your life in one form or another. We’re not talking about the standard “lose weight/get fit/give up ABC food or habit” because, while those are all great goals, they can be pretty challenging. We’re talking about resolutions that are specifically designed for pleasure – not easy pleasure, like eating a cake, but the pleasure that comes from applying yourself, creating, and growing.
Unsurprisingly, our favourite category of “positive resolution” is “Musical Resolutions”. Some examples of these are:
- Returning to the (piano, saxophone, guitar, drums, whatever instrument) you used to play
- Learning to play the (whatever instrument) or to sing, finally
- Enrolling a child in music lessons
- Joining a band/orchestra/choir
- Improving technique/getting some pointers
- Trying a new style of music
These are all fun resolutions which are bound to enrich your life. Over the years we’ve cobbled together a few tips which might help make your resolutions easier to keep.
- Get clear on the “why”. The “why” will always help you when you’re struggling to find the time or energy to engage with your resolution. Common “why”s for musical resolutions often include: Intellectual challenge, Social interaction, Relaxation, Satisfying curiosity and Letting out the performer inside (or any combination of the above!)
- Map out the time. Walk through your normal day and week and be truthful with yourself about when you can fit in practice. There’s little more frustrating than investing in lessons and realising that you simply don’t have the time to practice. Sometimes it’s best to wait for a few months until something else clears out of your schedule before beginning.
- Track progress. However you like – write a quick journal note every day or weekend to talk about what you’ve done or get technical and use one of the practice journal apps out there. What you’re going for is something you can look back on over the weeks and months and appreciate the progress you’ve made.
- Be realistic and be kind: We all “know” that it takes 21 days for a habit to form, but recent research points to it being much longer than that (sorry! 🙂 ) Just keep this in mind when you’re wondering why things feel difficult in February. It takes time to make habits. It takes time to learn new skills. Enjoy the process. Be nice to yourself.
- Ask for help: There’s three parts to this. Firstly, it’s a great idea to talk to your family and friends about your resolution. Partners can help by respecting your time and making space for your practice. Friends make a great cheering squad and audience. So let people know what you’re doing and how! Secondly, get in touch! We’re happy to answer music-related questions, be they about instruments, the learning process or teachers. Thirdly, speaking of teachers, get one! 🙂 Ok, we would say that, but it’s true that private in-person lessons are by far the best way of learning. There’s a whole host of amazing teachers out there and we’re sure you’d love to get to know some of them on your musical journey!
- Have fun: Learning music is a gateway to expression and growth. It’s not a linear process and progress can sometimes be tricky to measure. It’s not that every moment you spend practicing, in lessons, or performing will be “fun” – hard work is part of the process. But over the weeks and months, this is something that will make you feel proud and engaged. If it’s not, take stock and adjust. This is a past time that keeps on giving, so get out there and make some noise!
Do you have any other tips for keeping your resolutions? What are your resolutions this year?
Warmest wishes for a happy and musical 2014 from everyone at Musiquity!