It is officially 2020, and I can't wait for you to discover what your clarinet journey has in store for you this year!
If you are one of the dedicated people reading this, then I think it is a strong possibility that you have something about improving at the clarinet in your New Year's Resolution, which is great!
However, I want to make sure that your clarinet resolution is something you can stick to and something that will bring you success. Here are some resolution Do's and Don'ts that will help you make the most of your playing in 2020!
Don't Practice More
I know this may sound crazy, but simply resolving to practice more isn't going to maximize your growth in 2020. Sure you may practice many hours throughout January, but it is only a matter of time before your practice habits return to normal. Simply resolving to practice more is too generic and will most likely not have long term impact on your playing.
Do Change Your Practice Habits
Changing your practice habits is a much more worthy resolution. The most powerful way to do this if you are still wanting to practice more is to create a consistent practice schedule. Planning when you will practice each week will help you to really know if you are actually practicing more, and as always consistent practice is more impactful than simply more practice.
An even better resolution though might be to change the way you practice. You may be able to keep the same amount of time you are practicing, but you can get way more impact for your time by resolving to be intentional with your practice. Maybe this means keeping a practice journal or having some other concrete way to set goals and track your progress. A half hour with a very clear goal in the practice room often yields more than an hour of aimless practice.
Don't Think Too Long Term
I'm sure you have heard that it is important to set attainable goals, and this goes along the same lines. It is important to have a small handful of clarinet dreams, but you should already know what those are and they don't belong in your resolution. Maybe you can resolve to finally make 2020 the year you go for that big audition you have always dreamed of, but don't resolve to go from being an amateur player to a professional. It takes more than one year to accomplish the big dreams.
Do Be Actionable
The most powerful resolutions are the ones that have clear action steps you can do today and easily do every day (or at least every time you practice). Maybe take one of your dreams such as making All-State, and break that down into something actionable you can do now. You know there will be scales on the All-State audition, so try making your resolution to play X number of major and/or minor scales each time you practice. You would be surprised how large of an impact adding one action item to your practice routine can have over the course of a year.
I hope these Do's and Don'ts help you get the most out of your clarinet resolution this year, and if you haven't made a clarinet resolution yet, maybe you should!
I would love to hear any resolutions that you have made in the comments down below!
P.S. If you are really into your clarinet resolution, Michelle Anderson of Clarinet Mentors is hosting a really neat group for clarinetists to share their resolutions and have a community centered around achieving these resolutions. You can join completely for free here: https://www.clarinetmastery.com/offers/338VkGfu/checkout