Happy New Year, fellow piano teachers!
The month of December is so full, isn’t it? Full of joy, family, gatherings, all manners of busyness…and if you’re a musician, probably full of concerts, rehearsals, and just a tad of blinding chaos?
Hopefully, the joy and peace of the season were able to find you amidst all of that craziness, and you are now enjoying a bit of relaxation, basking in the light of hope and anticipation for the new year.
I love this magical time of year. New beginnings, new goals, new perspectives.
We make plans for our students, perhaps a yearly roadmap of what we hope for them to accomplish. We set goals for their learning, and we help them learn to set their own goals as well.
But, it’s so easy to forget about ourselves and our own continued growth.
Even if we are active performers, couldn’t we be more deliberate and purposeful about our own personal musical goals? I am convicting myself here, of course.
It’s a wonderful time to take stock of our goals for our studios and our students, much as we do at the beginning of each new school year. But what is on my mind right now, this new year is setting goals for my own personal growth as a musician and teacher.
I am convicting myself here, of course, but if you feel you’ve neglected yourself while giving all of your energy to your students, maybe you would enjoy setting some new goals this new year as well!
So this is where it gets super fun!! What will you resolve to accomplish in 2019?
The possibilities are endless and as unique as each one of us, but I’d like to offer this short list as a jumping off point.
Like we teach our students, goals must be clear and attainable and we need to set both short and long-term ones. I think it may be harder to set these goals for ourselves than to set them for our students.
But, how can we really expect discipline from our students if we are not able to find it in ourselves? Oof, again, convicting myself here!
So here we go!!
Areas of musical growth to consider when setting your New Year’s goals:
- Practice. I had to start with the most obvious, right? This can be as simple as setting a goal to practice a certain amount of time each week. Or you can get more specific…scales in double thirds every day (in which case you’d be my hero), time to focus on improvisation, Bach Inventions for a little bach back to basics, you get the idea. Do you simply need to be more disciplined about getting your behind to the bench? Or is there an area (or composer, genre, or piece) that you’d really like to focus on this year?
- Reading. As in books. With words. It’s time to finally read that pedagogy book you’ve got lying on your nightstand. Or maybe read about the lives of the great composers or the great pianists. Here are a few that are on my list for this year. Maybe they will interest you as well: The Art of Practicing by Madeline Bruser ( I try to read this one every year or so, highly recommend!!), What Every Pianist Needs to Know about the Body by Thomas Carson and others, Mastering Piano Technique by Seymour Fink, Great Pianists on Piano Playing by James Francis Cooke, Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner, The Great Pianists by Harold Schonberg, The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle, Mindset by Carol S. Dweck.
- Listening. To familiarize yourself with some new rep, to stylistically compare
performances of the same piece, to freshen up your understanding of baroque
ornamentation, and of course just for enjoyment and inspiration!
- Study a new teaching method. Okay, so this one is indirectly to benefit your students. But, if you find yourself teaching the same thing every year (and it probably feels easy and comfortable), then it’s probably time to explore what else is out there. I like to thoroughly study a new method before trying it out on students. You will feel more confident and your students will not feel like guinea pigs. There is definitely more work involved when switching up your usual teaching materials, but you can learn so much! And we should never place our ease and comfort above what might be better for our
- Plan a recital. For yourself. Include musical friends! Or not! And if you really don’t feel up for that, go hear other live performances!
- Attend a conference.
- Observe other teachers teaching lessons. Just as our students thrive when they have a plan in place and a way to measure accomplishments, we need to set musical goals for ourselves! We will come away with more to offer our students and more fulfillment in our jobs.
Good luck in all your new endeavors in 2019!
And if you think we can serve you in an even deeper way in 2019, then consider signing up for the PracticeHabits Membership Community. (Click the pic below for more information.)