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Setting Goals is Key

Setting goals is going to actively help you to achieve your ambition. There are tons of studies about it. Just go online and do some research. But what does that mean to us as trombonists?

Setting practical, measurable goals:


• Keeps you focussed & organized (eye on the prize)

• Gives you perspective on how far you've come

• Manages expectations

Start by setting achievable long term goals and then break down the time to give yourself a 'road map' to the success that you imagine. Start by thinking about what you want to achieve in a years time and then work back from that.


Here is what a sample goal setting plan might look like. (Remember this is just an example, make this personal to you!)


Year Goals

  • Pass Junior recital with top grade

  • Increase high range by a whole step

  • Learn 10 new excerpts from the orchestral literature

  • Make a recording for an ITA competition


Semester Goals

  • Learn 3 new pieces for my recital

  • Improve my alto playing by learning a concerto

  • Arrange a weekly section excerpt read through

  • Organize a trombone quartet to play a concert of Christmas music in the community

  • Learn 5 excerpts

  • Increase high register by a half step


Monthly Goals

  • Work on articulation to help <insert excerpt> and <insert movement of a piece>

  • Learn new work for ITA competition

  • Learn 2 new excerpts

  • Organize three trombone quartet rehearsals

Weekly Goals

  • Play 5 Rochut exercises everyday in tenor clef, at pitch, down one octave and down two octaves in tenor clef

  • Play a mock orchestral audition for my friends and colleagues

  • Work on high register exercises for 20 minutes every day

  • Begin work on 2 excerpts for the month

  • Increase the speed of <insert technical passage of piece or excerpt> by 10 clicks on the metronome

Daily Goals

  • Have a focussed warm up

  • Practice 30 minutes of Arban articulation exercises

  • Play 5 Rochut exercises

  • Practice 20 minutes of high register exercises every day

  • Practice 2 excerpts for 20 minutes each

  • Practice 30 minutes of ITA solo repertoire

Do you see how you long term goals start to determine your monthly semester goals and filter down into your daily goals? This means that you are always on course towards what you want to achieve on your instrument and never just floundering around in the practice room jumping from etude to excerpt to solo piece in a haphazard fashion.

By focussing on what really needs to get done you can be efficient with your time and know that you are moving steadily towards where you want to be as a musician. You can relax and enjoy your free time at the end of the day in the knowledge that your work is done!


I love goal setting and wish that I'd started it sooner in my career but it's never too late to start! Try the SMART approach to goal setting!







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