It's that time of year again! As holiday festivities wind down and the new year approaches, it's a great time to step back and reflect on your progress in 2018. Did you articulate some concrete musical objectives at the beginning of last year? Which of them did you accomplish? If you fell short of some goals, do you know why you didn't meet them? Learn from both your successes and failures, and articulate some fresh aims for the new year. Be sure to make your 2019 resolutions specific, measurable, and achievable:
(1) Specific - Decide on specific pieces you want to learn, performances or workshops to participate in, and studies that address techniques that need improvement. Watch out for vague wording such as 'get better at...' or 'improve...' -- make sure you fill in such objectives with a detailed plan on HOW you are going to improve in those areas. If your goals are very technical such as increasing velocity or improving relaxation, it might help to set specific metronome goals or take videos of your current playing technique.
(2) Measurable - Set goals that have something to show for themselves. Word your goals as simple statements such as 'Perform the Bach Prelude in D Major from memory in front of friends and family' or 'Learn, record, and share on YouTube my own arrangements three flamenco palos'. There won't be any doubt you've achieved goals like these, because your friends and family will remember your performance, and you'll have already shared your flamenco pieces with the world.
(3) Attainable - Wouldn't we all like to learn a concert program of our favorite classical guitar masterpieces, form a band and go on tour, or record an album of original compositions! But setting goals that are impossible to achieve doesn't help us improve. Set your 2019 goals with your teacher, who will know best what sort of progress to expect given your current level. Some ideas may be more appropriate as five-year-goals rather than new years resolutions.