January 25, 2017

You set goals - so what? Five ways to capture your progress

All of January we have been talking about identifying, setting, keeping and meeting goals to improve playing, learning, and performance.  The final question – how do you know if you are making progress?  How can you be sure you are moving toward the outcome you wanted?

Well, like everything else, you need to record what you have done and see if you are on track to get there (or maybe that you are already there!).  How do you go about recording your progress?  Well, here are five ways:  

  1. Write it down!  And be sure to reread your notes. This can be in your lesson notebook or your journal.  You can make notes on little scraps of paper – doesn’t matter, just so long as you can make sense of it when you go to review it.
  2. Record yourself.  You can buy an inexpensive digital voice recorder at your favorite local office supply depot that are staples of most areas.  This will give you good enough sound quality for this purpose.  Then you can listen to your playing after you play as well as when you are playing – you’ll be amazed what you hear later!
  3. Check yourself against your plan – and review to see how well you are keeping up.  Did you actually learn three nocturnes last week?  No? You can always modify the plan but you won’t know if you aren’t watching!
  4. Ask someone to listen to you and provide you feedback (and then provide feedback on the implementation of their previous feedback).  This can be your teacher or a helpful friend or family member.  The point is to get some information on your progress (don’t lose sight of that).
  5. Videotape yourself. This is, of course, a variation of recording yourself but with the added benefit of having visuals as well – you might learn something you weren’t even expecting!

I’m sure there are more ways to be sure you are making progress – what do you do?

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