New Year's Resolutions for Music Students

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It's a new year! A new beginning - A time to start anew and another reminder to persevere or perhaps to hope. This is the time of year where people make new year resolutions, wanting to become better versions of themselves...

In this hub, I will share some ideas that you might want to adopt as a music student, or just a musician. It is my sincere hope that some of these ideas will inspire you to be bigger than a musician. Indeed, it is an incredible privilege to be given the gift of music.

1. Encourage a Younger Musician

If you remember how it was like when you first started to learn your instrument, or how it was like to find your gigs.... there will be someone out there who is musically younger than you who would cling on to every word of encouragement that you would offer.

Maybe you just need to spend some time listening to this younger musician make music, or perhaps make music with him or her, or connect this person with someone else that will be a good encourager, teacher, or perhaps a friend or a fan.

2. Maintain and Improve Your Musicianship by Practicing

This goes without saying, but so often practicing can make all that difference when it comes to making music sound that much more special. If you can spare a certain amount of time each day to hone your musical skills, your investment will pay off as time goes by. Not everyone can be a good musician - so if you know that it is a gift that God has given you, be a good steward of that gift and be the best musician that you can by spending time to make that gift that much more special.

3. Show Appreciation to Your Teacher

If you are taking formal lessons, or if you aren't... chances are, you probably have a special inspiring person whom you would call your teacher - officially or unofficially. Be a grateful student, and show appreciation to your teacher. Tell him or her that you enjoy learning from her... or find something about your teacher that you can express your gratitude for.

Teachers are humans too, and they respond to their students. It would make their day that more joyful if they knew how they were making a difference to you. Find out what makes your teacher tick, or what her goals for you are, or even her teaching philosophy.... that way when you give a compliment you can make it more sincerely and it will also be more meaningful to your teacher.

4. Learn A Musical Skill That Would Compliment Your Musical Strengths

Are you a brilliant sight-reader who can make a score sing at first glance? Are you a genius who can play any tune you hear on the radio? Chances are you probably fall in between. But try to get better at a skill that does not come so naturally to you. You will become more versatile as a musician.

Good skills that have very practical value for musicians include being able to improvise, harmonize, transcribe, sight-read, transpose... read lead sheets...

5. Go To a Performance With a Non-musician Friend

This might be an eye-opening experience - to attend a performance with someone who is not a non-musician. They always offer interesting insight that can help us to improve as musicians. You might just find a better way to describe your musical experiences, or you might suddenly feel so grateful for the precious opportunity you have been given to learn music - who knows! It will also be an enriching experience for them too.

6. Find A Way To Give a Special Surprise To Your Peers

Are you a college undergraduate who spends a lot of time in the practice room? Or do you get to see your fellow musician friends each week when you go for lessons? Maybe you just play in church each Sunday? Whatever it is, no one would ever refuse a thoughtful gesture that would brighten their day.

Sometimes practicing can be a very lonely experience - holed up in a practice room with just you and your instrument. You can, once in a while, bring someone joy by leaving a sweet or funny note behind that music stand or something for the next person who uses the room. Or you can just bring a little bit of treats that will demonstrate that you care for your friends! Sometimes musicians can be very competitive - perhaps a tiny gesture initiated to demonstrate care can go a long way.

7. Share Your Music With An Usual Audience

Music is meant to be shared. It is a community event and the joy that it can bring is always so deep and rich. Make a resolution to share your music with someone special this year - is it a child with special needs? A group of friends in a retirement home? Your family? If you have the gift of music, use it and share it with others who may not have the chance to hear good music as much as you. You will be surprised at how deep the impact of your little gesture might be.

8. Talk Even More About Music With Fellow Musicians

Have more music conversations! Talk about the best practice strategies, share inspiring stories, share interesting teaching methods, tell music jokes, compose music songs, think of meaningful music collaborations, find a special population whom you can bless with your music...

These conversations will not only enrich your musicianship, but they will give you a higher perspective to your calling as a musician.

9. Listen to Good Music

What a better way to improve as a musician than to learn from others! Listening to good music trains our ears to be more discerning and helps us to produce better music. Listening gives us more ideas about what we can do with our own music, and it helps us to refine our musical taste too. The best musicians are the ones who have the best ears. So go for it, and start listening to good music for a few minutes each day!

10. Be Humble

Humility helps you to realize how precious your musical gift is, and how privileged you are to have it. It motivates you to practice more, and it also makes you aware of the responsibility you have to share it with others and pass it on.

When you are humble, you also realize that along with receiving this gift of music, you not only use it generously, but you also guard it. No one should abuse this gift of yours, including yourself. This makes you want to take care not only of it, but of yourself as a musician... and it also inspires more love towards the younger musicians under your charge. Remind yourself to be humble each time you may feel frustrated with a student, or with yourself, it will change the way you view things.

Make this next year more special as you grow towards being a musician whose beautiful heart is reflected in the music you make!

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