So, since you might be wondering how exactly I use my beloved Efficient Musician Practice Planner, let’s go through it together :)
One of the goals I set for myself this year is to improve my articulation in fast passages.
These past few months, I’ve noticed that I tend to keep my fingers stretched out long after they have finished playing, in most pieces I play. For me, that means having less stamina when it comes to playing longer pieces, as well as a lazier articulation for fast passages.
So, I’ve made it my goal for the next few months to improve my articulation, as a sort of practice resolution. As is the case for most goals, this will require me to change my habits and alter my practice regimen a little bit.
Luckily, the Practice Planner is there to help me stay on track and make this goal more manageable. I made use of the versatile Practice Goals page at the beginning of the planner to break it all down. Let me show you how 😊
Here is my Practice Goals page as I filled it out. It’s incomplete and imperfect, and that’s okay (in fact, it’s better for it to be a constant work-in-progress).
As you can see, the goal I will be breaking down today is highlighted.
In the lines beside the goal box, I briefly expanded on my intentions with this goal - this gives me a starting point for where to begin my mind map on the next page, but is still brief enough to have a bird’s eye view of all my goals for the year.
Let’s move onto the goal planning page!
First, let’s write the goal in the middle of the page. Leave lots of room around it, so you give yourself space to be creative and brainstorm.
Next, we’re gonna break the goal into its initial (in this case, three) steps: warming up before practicing, exercises I will use on my current pieces, and the habit of the week (see the Weekly Practice Journal).
Now, we could end it here, but of course I have to go all out when I plan. I might have mentioned before that I have a tendency to overthink everything - and it really comes in handy at times like this 😂
So, let’s break the goals down further.
As you can see, I expanded on the warm ups by listing the current Chopin Etudes I’m working on, Op. 10 No. 1 and No. 8, as well as making a note to practice arpeggios. With regards to the exercises I can use on my current pieces, I decided to work on my Mozart Sonata with various rhythm and articulation exercises. And, last but not least I wrote in a few habits of the week to keep in mind for the upcoming Weekly Journal.
All done! I now have a clearer idea of what goal I want to accomplish, as well as what actionable steps I can take to get there.
Now, it’s time to colour, highlight, and give it some life. Let’s go wild!!
How do you break down your goals? Let me know in the comments!