Saturday, December 26, 2015

New Year's Resolutions for Musicians

The New Year is coming up, and like many people, I've got a whole list of resolutions, from exercising more and eating more veggies to being more patient and kind to everyone I meet. As a musician, I also think about what I can do this next year to improve my artistry and boost my career. So here are some of my musical resolutions: 

1. Practice

This almost goes without saying, but practice is an essential part to developing as a musician. In my practice this year, I want to focus on improving my mindset and experimenting with different kinds of music, including both Medieval/Renaissance pieces and newly composed works. I'd also like to learn a new violin concerto. 

2. Listen

I've written about discovering new classical music, as well as exploring early Baroque repertoire, and this year I want to continue listening to new and exciting recordings. Music is an aural art after all, so I think it's important and necessary for musicians to develop their listening skills by, well, listening. But listening involves more than just recordings--I also hope to attend many lives performances this year. To often, I get so busy playing in concerts I don't get a chance to attend other musicians' recitals and performances, but this year I want to take in as much classical music as my schedule allows. This is a great way to support my fellow artists as well as practice listening,

3. Read

I think that a thorough understanding of music history and music theory can help to deepen our understanding and interpretation of classical music. There are many excellent books out there that give us valuable insights into composers' lives and compositions, or even specific musical techniques. What's more, books on the science of learning (or teaching) can help musicians discover more efficient practice techniques. Therefore, this year I intend to devote some time to reading about music (and learning), as well as other forms of practicing.

4. Collaborate/Network

Since graduating from University, what I've missed most is playing chamber music. Sure, I'll play in quartets or trios for a wedding, but I rarely get the chance to actually rehearse a high-level piece and play it with other musicians. So this year, I'd like to collaborate and network with other musicians, in hopes that we can play/work together. I know this is likely an unrealistic goal, since musicians (including myself) often have frantic schedules that leave little opportunity for just playing chamber music together for fun, but hey, how many people manage to keep up with all their New Year's resolutions? It's still a worthy goal.

5. Teach

Right now I have a good number of students, so I teach regularly. But I think that teaching is a skill that requires quite a bit of thought, devotion, and work to improve. This year, I'd like to improve my communication skills, and help my students improve theirs. I think better communication will help my students understand me, as well as helping me to understand them, and what they need/want from lessons. 
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