Learning how to play a musical instrument can be one of the most rewarding projects a human being can take on. However, it will not always be easy or free of frustration. Let’s face it though, if it were easy then everyone and their dog would be doing it. It is because of the challenge and difficulty that makes it so rewarding. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to discipline him or herself to practice, seek information, push through difficulty and seek the guidance that it takes to take on the task of learning a musical instrument.
One proven method to decrease frustration and drastically increase results it to set clear and manageable goals that you can track. If you are just beginning or fairly new to your instrument, you may not know how to effectively implement goal setting. For example, one might say I want to learn how to sight read by the end of the month. A month may seem like a long time, but learning how to sight read is a huge goal, which could take years depending upon various factors. Having a knowledgeable teacher will help you set reasonable goals. If you are an advanced student, goal setting will help you break through periods where you feel like you are not progressing.
There are many areas of practicing in which goal setting is beneficial. Let us say you are learning a new piece or song, you can set a length of time, any length, that you will master a specific part or section before moving on. This way, you achieve a noticeable accomplishment, which in turn will be rewarding and will motivate you to move on and set a new goal and learn the next section. Keep in mind a section can be as small as you desire. It can be a few notes that are difficult to play or a couple bars that do not come easy at first, or it could be a whole page or more.
Other goals you can set for yourself has to do with how much and how often you practice. For example, you can make a commitment to practicing one hour a day. That is an exact length of time measurable in earthly units. You either practiced your hour or you did not, there is not much room for error. For this type of goal setting, it helps if you can set aside a certain time of day to get your practicing in. Many people prefer the morning when they are fresh, and it is just a nice way to start the day. Some prefer at nighttime after they have gotten all their daily responsibilities out of the way.
The main point is to keep it reasonable so that you are more likely to succeed. When setting goals at first, you may bite off more than you can chew. The more you practice goal setting, the better you will get at setting reasonable ones that you can accomplish.