Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Setting Goals

I studied flute with Dr. Jones at Texas State University for 11 semesters, and I began studying with her my sophomore year of high school... this works out to a solid 10 years with this amazing woman, with a few semester off here and there. One of the most important lessons she taught me was to set goals.

She had us (the students of her ever-growing flute studio) keep a notebook each semester, which included a lot of things I waited until the last minute to assemble... notes from my lessons, concert programs, handouts and notes from lectures and events, historical information on music I was learning in my lessons and in flute ensemble, projects related to our flute studies, and more, depending on where we were in our course of study. This itself was a valuable practice that I hope to keep up with as I continue collegiate studies (the procrastination is still there, for sure, but I am good about keeping materials - it's just a matter of organizing now), but one thing we had to include in the notebook every semester, in addition to all that I've already listed, was our goals. She had a "Goals" Sheet we had to complete that looked something like this:


This semester:

This year:

Before Upper Level (first half of music degree; 'pre-music'):

Before Senior Recital:

After Graduation:

In my first few years, I was quite lazy in setting my goals. I would write similar things from semester to semester and I wouldn't look at the sheet after I wrote it (therefore not accomplishing my goals unless it was something that I already knew/had to accomplish anyway). As my seven years as an undergraduate continued, I began to think more and more about my goals - as I passed my Upper Level, completed my first Senior Recital, and neared Graduation. Real Life was creeping up on me, and I needed to start thinking about where I was going and what I wanted to do. With each passing semester, the thought of "post-graduation" became a nearer reality, and those seemingly far-off goals at the bottom of the page became something I would actually have to face. They included things like: apply to grad school, get accepted, complete grad school, find a real job in music/education, etc.

And now, here I am. I've passed my Upper Level, two Senior Recitals, and I've graduated from Texas State. I'm in graduate school, and somewhat in real life (I've completed 3.5 of these milestones: Am I an adult yet??) And as I am upon the eve of a week before school starts, I sat down to write down my goals for the semester - WITHOUT EVEN THINKING ABOUT IT. Obviously, in 10 years, Dr. Jones had some effect on me.

I was literally writing down my goals when I realized that posting them on the internet would seem a little more solid, more committing. So, here they are - professional/school and personal goals for the semester...
- complete all assignments (reading and written) before midnight the day before they are due
- keep up with Historiography II listening assignments and my listening journal WEEKLY
- spend at least one day/week working on my thesis at home or at the IJS
- create a practice and exercise schedule (each, minimum 2x/week; ideally 3-5x/week)
- keep a journal of practice and exercise
(April: weight loss benchmark 1: Megan and Travis' wedding)
(June: weight loss benchmark 2: Amy and Mike's wedding)
- explore NYC with Ryan (ideally-weekly; at least-monthly)
- investigate the process of teacher certification in the tri-state area
- maintain my awesome sleep schedule (7-8 hrs/night)
- keep one jazz-related book on me at all times for reading on public transit

This summer...
- put my all into teaching my first collegiate class, if it makes (I need 10+ students)
- find another part-time job (if my class doesn't make)
- continue 1 day/week work on thesis
- create personal listening list to complete (classical and jazz classics, mostly)
- maintain practice and exercise schedules and journal
- seek musical performance and live music opportunities

That's all I have for now. I intend to consult this list each time I check on my blog (which just passed 5000 views - woo hoo!) and stay motivated to keep on them.

Thanks for everything, Dr. Jones.