The Art of Setting Goals

If you didn’t know already, Park Cities School of Music has a pretty steady social media presence on a number of platforms (hint, hint…you should totally follow us!). As we post multiple times a week, we have seen the following quote adorning a beautiful picture somewhere in our feeds:

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

These words by Norman Vincent Peale are meant to inspire someone to aim as high as possible because even if they should miss their main target, they’d still essentially be in the heavens. It’s a sweet message, but is it the best message?

When learning to play a new instrument, excitement is at an all-time high & expectations for what the future holds are through the roof. This can quickly be tempered by the reality of the instrument being tougher to play than it was originally perceived. All of a sudden, not only does the original trip to the moon seem unlikely, but falling among the stars sounds a little too ideal.

There’s a part of you that may want to give up, but don’t! You just need to know how to set appropriate goals. It may not look good on an inspirational poster, but there is such a thing as aiming too high sometimes. Now, you certainly don’t want to just put in the bare minimum amount of work because that won’t accomplish much, but you also don’t want to make yourself crazy trying to reach a level of manic perfection. You’re looking for a happy medium.

It’s all about setting REALISTIC goals that chart success AND show progress. As you sit down for practice, decide that you want to do a great job with the first measure. Follow that up with the first two measures. Pretty soon, you’ll be working to tackle the first line, and so on. It’s not that your goals aren’t lofty or big enough now, but you just shifted their focus so that they benefit you more, and isn’t that their purpose?

Getting back to the whole “shooting for the moon” thing. It’s important to remember that Neil Armstrong didn’t get to be the first man to step on the moon by himself. He had the assistance of Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, and all of NASA/Mission Control. Your journey to be a better musician won’t be on your own either because the teachers at Park Cities School of Music will be there every step of the way.


PCSM Guitar Teacher

October 16, 2020
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