New Year’s is, traditionally, a time of resolution and goal setting. We come up with visions of being better guitarists, better musicians, better people and then resolve to do so. And, also traditionally, we tend to get bored or frustrated and abandon our plans somewhere between the Rose Bowl and Chinese New Year.
As people, musicians, and/or guitarists, we are constantly growing and evolving. Giving ourselves specific and measurable goals is a good way to direct and focus that growth. Just saying “I want to be a better guitarist” is good and admirable, but it doesn’t give you any direction. Because there are, at last count anyway, more than 18,364,308 different aspects to playing guitar, you may have absolutely no idea where to start. So you just practice, usually without even a plan of practice, and then wonder why you’re not improving, and then get frustrated and then just resign yourself to not improving at all.
The thing is that making goals, irony of ironies, is also something that takes practice. My friend Darrin Koltow wrote an excellent article about this subject that you should take a moment or two to read. Plus, you probably want to take a look through the many articles on practicing over at Guitar Noise.
But also remember, while New Year’s is certainly the traditional time to start in on setting goals and making resolutions, it’s just one out of three hundred and sixty-five days. Any day, every day, is a fine day to wake up and say, “I’m going to work on improving my rhythm playing, knowing where the notes are on my fretboard, learning a song to sing at the local open mic…”
I don’t know about you, but today seems like a great day to start being a better guitarist. And as vague as that sounds, I’m going to start writing up and then working out a specific practice program as soon as I finish writing this post!