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New Year's Resolutions: A Musician's Guide to Self-Improvement

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year! (Photo by William Warby)
Happy New Year! (Photo by William Warby)

Making New Year’s resolutions is a social trend that has become more popular throughout the last century. Is becoming a better musician on your self-improvement checklist for 2014?

To help you in your quest to take your performance to a new level, here is a MUSICAL interpretation of some of the nation's most common New Year’s resolutions out there.

Get a better bod.

  • Improve your left and right hand technique.
  • Focus on posture. Stand up straight.
  • Develop muscle memory through repetition. (Think sets of pushups and situps.)
  • Exercise (i.e. practice) three or more times a week.
  • Warm up before you play.
  • Join a musical sports team: an orchestra, quartet, or other performance group.
  • Train for a marathon (i.e. a recital or concert).

Have a more positive attitude.

  • Refrain from throwing your instrument when frustrated.
  • Believe in your ability to achieve your performance goals.
  • Repeat encouraging mantras. (“I can do this.” “Never say never.” ““Success is not obtained overnight.” ― Israelmore Ayivor)

Make strides in your career.

Do well in school.

  • Take private lessons (if you don’t already).
  • Do your homework (i.e. practice).
  • Keep a practice journal.
  • Make sure you have the right school supplies (i.e. accessories).

Do something you’ve never done before.

  • Play a new piece.
  • Play with new people.
  • Practice outdoors.
  • Compose music.
  • Listen to new artists.
  • Try a new instrument.
  • Practice new techniques.

Get organized.

  • Prepare and decorate a comfortable practice space.
  • Keep your practice room, case, and music collection uncluttered.

Reduce stress.

  • Don’t take practice too seriously.
  • Take breaks.
  • Play more ballads.
  • Get back and shoulder massage to loosen your playing muscles.
  • Set reasonable goals.
  • Don’t expect too much of yourself.
  • Keep your love for music alive.

Improve time management.

  • Set aside time to practice.
  • Breakup practice time dedicated to specific pieces and exercises.
  • Be realistic with your schedule.
  • Keep a planner and mark your calendar with rehearsal times and events.

Read more books.

  • Expand your sheet music library.
  • Learn about composers.
  • Study music history.
  • Learn how to expand your creativity. (You might try The Artist’s Way).

Do more community service.

  • Perform at nursing homes and hospitals.
  • Do “show-and-tell” performances at preschools and elementary schools.
  • Support musical organizations that need funding.
  • Organize a concert to support a charity.

Find love.

  • Develop an intimate relationship with your instrument.
  • Get obsessed with a composer.
  • Ask someone out on a date to an orchestra concert.
Photo by Josh James
Music is good for the heart! (Photo by Josh James)

___________________________

Need reminders to keep your goals? Print out this list and hang in your practice space. Best of luck as you strive to improve your musicianship!

Note: Don’t overwhelm yourself with unrealistic expectations. Keep in mind the value of patience, persistence, endurance, and a commitment to never give up on your dreams. Don’t be afraid to reevaluate and recommit to your artistic goals throughout the year. As Richelle E. Goodrich says in her book, Smile Anyway,

Do it again.

Play it again.

Sing it again.

Read it again.

Write it again.

Sketch it again.

Rehearse it again.

Run it again.

Try it again.

Because again is practice, and practice is improvement, and improvement only leads to perfection."

________________________

Happy New Year from all of us at Kennedy Violins!

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kennedyviolins.com
Playing Since: 1994
Experience Level: Expert/Professional

Interests:
[Teaching] [Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: Luthier & Copywriter

Gender: Female
My Instruments:
string bass, guitar, clarinet

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Created 6/3/2013
Last Visit 12/31/2013

Liz Lambson, a luthier at Kennedy Violins in Vancouver, Washington, is a classical and jazz bassist from Colorado Springs, Colorado. With a bachelor’s degree in music from Brigham Young University, Liz has performed with the Vancouver Symphony, Columbia Symphony, Columbia River Symphony, American Festival Orchestra, Ballet West, Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, as well as several rock, folk, and jazz bands. Liz has performed with notable artists such as Peter Cetera, Audra McDonald, Renee Fleming, Sissel, and Michael Martin Murphy, and has on movie soundtracks including Forever Strong. Liz released an album of original folk songs in 2006 (Liz Rhodes, Red and Yellow) on guitar and vocals. Liz and her husband moved to Oregon in 2009. She enjoys painting, cross stitch, woodworking, and spending time with her two beautiful sons.

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