The Perpetual Beginner: changes, goal-setting and commitment

September 18, 2017
The Perpetual Beginner: changes, goal-setting and commitment

I moved into a new office yesterday in a new building in a new part of town, and I’m energized and excited by the new possibilities that this change will open up. It’s also got me thinking about strategies for growth and success, for you as well as for me.

It’s easy enough to agree that reaching any goal is going to require commitment and followthrough. It’s practically a platitude, but it’s true. And so as I think about restructuring what I do to make the most of my new situation, I’m also thinking about how setting my own new goals can help you meet yours.

Getting specific about goals

Some people start lessons with a concrete set of goals they want to meet. Others are more general. Either way, meeting those goals is going to require a game plan and a commitment. The game plan is my part of the arrangement, and the commitment is yours.

With that in mind, I’m going to start designing a series of lesson plans that are aimed at the most common goals and deficiencies that students bring to my studio. The working categories are:

  • A complete beginner’s guitar course
  • The perpetual beginner skill-builder course
  • Self-accompaniment for singers and songwriters
  • Practical music theory and fretboard harmony

These series would be organized like a college course, with a “syllabus” listing the goals and game plan to get there, and a “textbook” with a set of resources and exercises to work your way through. Of course, everyone’s specific needs are different and material from different courses could be mixed according to the goals we set. But the big idea is that looking at lessons as a highly organized program is likely to make you more motivated and committed. It’s also likely to be more effective in the long run.

How is this different?

I have always made an effort to work this way to begin with, setting specific goals with each student and working our way towards them. The difference here is the more fully developed set of resources  and a specific commitment of time: a 12-week course instead of open-ended lessons. For some people, an open-ended situation is the better arrangement. Scheduling, finances, and the specific goals all come into play. But as my time gets more and more limited, it’s becoming clear to me that my one-on-one work needs to be with students that are going to do what’s necessary to make their investment pay off. Making this more highly organized commitment will be an effective path to successful skill-building. I also like the idea that the “textbook” allows the student to easily review or move forward as they need, even without a lesson that week.

I will still offer individual lessons, and don’t expect to fully have this in place before January 2018. But I think it will be an excellent option and I’m excited to work with all of you to develop this. I welcome your comments and thoughts, especially if there are big areas you’d like to see addressed that I don’t mention above.

Here’s to onward and upward!


One Response to The Perpetual Beginner: changes, goal-setting and commitment

  • I’m definitely interested in your Perpetual Beginner series. I have viewed your lessons on Jamplay, some more than once, and I go to your website for occasional pep talk. Thank you for teaching.

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