Do you have a personal musical vision statement? By turning your dreams and goals into your own musical vision, you can achieve more, enjoy productive practice time, and take more pleasure in your playing.
In part one of this two-part blog post, I explored the differences between dreams, goals and vision. Here in part two, I will help you create your own personal musical vision statement.
If dreams are the fruit of our imagination, we can think of vision as a dream with a commitment. Your dream becomes a future reality. When it becomes a vision, it becomes a destination, one you can arrive at if you know the route. And goals are your route, your waypoints on the path.
The basic formula is this: Your dream is where you think it. Your vision is where you see it. Your goals are how you do it.
And you start with creating your vision statement. It will be a written statement that commits you to the actions required to achieve your vision within a specific timeframe. Writing the statement down is important. This study at Dominican University of California documents the positive effects of writing down goals.
Here’s how to get started writing your statement:
1. Write down your dreams. In the first part of this post, I suggested you write down 10 dreams, musical or otherwise. If you haven’t done that, do this now. Dream big or little, but don’t be afraid to list anything you might want to do.
2. Select two or three of these dreams and write a checklist for each. The checklist is a list of everything that needs to happen for your dream to come true. This is the beginning of goal-setting, but more importantly at this stage, it is a reality check. The question to be answered is this: Is every step possible, even if it is difficult? For instance, if you dream of becoming an Olympic gymnast but you’re middle-aged and overweight and allergic to chalk dust, the checklist will point out the convincing improbability of your dream becoming a reality. On the other hand, if you dream of playing the harp for your daughter’s wedding, and you have yet to start harp lessons, this could still be doable. If the steps seem achievable, not necessarily easy but possible, then your dream passes the test, and you can take it to the vision stage.
3. Create your vision scenario. Take one of your dreams that has passed the checklist test. Pretend your dream is a movie in which you are the star. On a new piece of paper, write down a few sentences that tell the story, as if you were summarizing the plot of your movie for someone. An example: I am playing a solo recital for all my friends and family. It is being held at the gallery in the center of town. I am playing my favorite music, including Grandjany’s “Rhapsody” and the Tournier “Sonatine.” I have all the music memorized, and I am feeling excited about sharing these pieces with my friends. I’m wearing a beautiful, flowing gown. After the recital I am happy and proud as I accept the congratulations of the audience. After you have written your scenario, take a moment to enjoy anticipating your success!
4. Get down to the details. Go back to the checklist you made for your reality check. Flesh out the checklist and turn it into a list of goals. Next to every step, write a time frame and a “due date.” Your vision isn’t dead if you don’t meet the due dates, but consider carefully the reasons you missed your goal and set yourself a new date. Recalculate your other dates as needed. Restate these as commitments to your vision.
5. Sign and date the bottom of the page. Put the page where you can see it daily to remind you of the path you are following.
And whatever you do, dream big!