As we welcome a New Year I thought I would write a few lines and share some thoughts on the notoriously fickle New Year’s resolution we are all so prone to make. There seems to be no shortness of enthusiasm for the coming year and no boundaries as to what we think we will accomplish. Yes, we are all intending to exercise more, we are all going to read more, work less and spend more time doing what really matters. If you can diligently keep your resolutions, more power to you! I find that a couple of weeks into the new year my enthusiasm turns into a laborious grind and I often find myself reverting to the old habits.
When it comes to guitar playing let’s nevertheless set goals for ourselves. Zig Ziglar famously said that “if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” Boy, is this is ever true when it comes to the guitar? You may fall short of your lofty goals, but you wll nevertheless make significant progress. Set goals for yourselves and chase hard after those targets!
1. Have fun! This is my daughter’s favorite rule. Whenever we go to the Zoo or to the park we review the rules of “engagement” and our #1 rule is to have fun! Embrace the difficulty of guitar technique, enjoy the sound of your instrument, enjoy the feeling of strings under your right hand fingernails, enjoy the woody smell of your guitars, listen to a lot of different guitarists that can stretch your interpretive palettes. Have fun folks; the purpose of music is to ennoble not just others but ourselves first of all.
2. Schedule in your practice time! Carve out time on your calendar and guard your practice time. The enjoyable routine of playing the guitar every day will add a sense of balance to your life and will be one of the most important factors that contribute to your overall growth.
3. Track your progress! Set small goals that you want to accomplish before each practice session and write them down. Meet your goals and check them off once you accomplish them. Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourselves; it is very unlikely that you will be able to read Bach’s Chaconne in the 27 minutes you have available to practice that day. In terms of musical progress, you will become the sum of our small decisions. You may not see the way you grow but, when looking in the rearview mirror, you will be encouraged by the progress you have made over time.
4. Log into your Elite Guitarist account and learn how to play repertoire pieces. What differentiates Elite Guitarist students from others is rather important fact that they can play actual repertoire pieces. Thank you to all who have sent me recordings of you playing these pieces; keep them coming folks! Over the coming months I will be adding these performances to a Elite Guitarist playlist on our Youtube channel entitled Student Performances.
I wanted to thank you all for embarking with us on this project that is Elite Guitarist. It has been a wonderful six months and I want to thank you for being regular users and contributors to what Elite Guitarist is and is becoming. If you are benefitting from these lessons and repertoire tutorials, pass the word around. We have several recording sessions scheduled for January and we will add a couple of Fernando Sor studies at the beginning of the year. We are also in the production stages of a flamenco track, which is very exciting to me. Thanks to all of you who have given us tutorial suggestions; meeting your repertoire suggestion will be my priority in the first 6 months of the year.
Happy New Year to all of you!
And, just to share with you my personal musical goals for 2017, here they are.
- Learn 3 movements of Torroba’s Castles of Spain
- Select & Prepare the repertoire for a Baroque album to be recorded in the next 1-2 years. (3 Scarlatti sonatas; Bach’s Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in Eb major; Suite in F by Weiss; La Frescobalda, etc…)
- Record an album of Spanish music.
- Upload 20 new tutorials for EliteGuitarist (classical track)
Online Classical Guitar Lessons & Repertoire Video Tutorials