Call me crazy, but I’m training for a marathon. I’m working hard at improving, building my fitness and have been tracking my progress each week. It’s made me think how tracking your music progress is harder as it’s so much easier to see your progress in sports than in music, but it doesn’t mean it’s not there!
Here are my tips on how to track your progress.
Have a goal
My plan is to run in a marathon, but I can’t just wake up one day and run 40 kilometres. I might be able to cross the finish line, but I’d probably have to crawl over it! So, I’ve given careful thought on how I’m going to achieve my goal. I have a plan in place to gradually build on my fitness, and not over train and cause myself injury.
As with musical training, students should have a goal for what they’d like to achieve. It can be big or small – mastering a favourite piece of music; or to one day play in an orchestra. Whatever it is, encourage your child to write down it down. Talk about it, encourage, imagine and dream big.
Plan small goals leading to a big goal
When I first started training, I decided on a consistent training routine, and planned small goals to build my strength and stamina. Rather than trying to run 10kms and becoming disheartened when I couldn’t, having smaller, more achievable goals keeps me motivated to working towards my ‘big goal’.
Same goes for practicing your instrument. Help your child set up a consistent routine with specific goals. Ask them what they’d like to achieve in the next 30 minutes, hour or week. By working smarter, not harder, students can accomplish more in less time and measuring their progress will be more tangible for them.
Have good form
It goes without saying that whether running a marathon or playing an instrument, having “good form” is a must. If I run too fast too early or don’t breathe properly, I’m going to struggle to reach the finish line or worst case, injure myself.
Having good musical form can be easily defined by pitch, rhythm and sound quality of playing.
Although students may not injure themselves playing an instrument, it can require repetitive motion which can cause muscle strain over time if correct posture isn’t used. In addition to posture, proper finger technique or knowing how and where to breathe while they play all impact the sound quality of their instrument.
Celebrate the little (and big!) wins
At IWIM, we strongly believe that musical training should be fun, so it’s also OK if our students want to learn for the pure joy of it and not set any specific goals. What is important to us is that we celebrate the big and little wins.
I celebrate every 5kms that I add to the total distance I can run. When you start from a base of zero, that’s a lot of celebrating that I plan to do!
Whatever instrument our students are learning, it can be rewarding and challenging. No matter how big or small an accomplishment your little musician has achieved, we love to celebrate and cheer with them!
If you or your child would like to dream big and achieve your musical goals, please drop us an email.