So you’ve decided to play a musical instrument. What next?

You’ll need to decide what you want to be able to do. It’s a good idea to have short term, mid-range, and long term goals. And it’s a good idea to re-evaluate these all regularly.

For example, you might want to make funny music videos. You might want to play guitar in a cultural or church group. Maybe you want to start a rock band. Maybe you really want to sing and write your own songs, and playing an instrument will enable that. Maybe you want to play guitar or ukulele at preschool or kindy for the kids sing-along. Perhaps you will sing to your loved one on your wedding day, or maybe you want to go out busking and make some coin while you’re a student.

The kind of things you should incorporate in to your short term goals will be learning particular skills and keeping to a practice regime. A golden rule – if your practice routine isn’t challenging you, you will stay at the same level you are at. Keep it fun, varied and above all, challenge yourself!

In your medium range goal set, build on your networking. Find out the nuts and bolts of what you have to do to get the gig you want, who to call, who you need to befriend, what you might have to wear, what you might have to buy to have the right instrument or equipment. Do you have the right look for what you want to do? Do you know enough repertoire? Are you already trying it out somehow, somewhere?

Your long-term goals could be anything, but why not dream up a 5-year plan to start with? You can modify it as you go. It’s difficult as a young beginner to imagine a 5-year plan so maybe start with a 2-year plan then see how you feel after that. The main thing though is to have goals and a vision of how to go about making them happen.

Part of this process should be discussion with your teacher, they can help you find out what you need to do to make your goals happen. An effective plan will get you there faster and more effectively. We are about to embark on a new year, what a great time to make some plans and resolve to keep them ! Best of luck :-)