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GOALS AND VISION

CHAPTER FIVE

efore we dive into our practice system, it is a good idea to know the ultimate purpose for practicing. In other words, take a look at what your goals
are as a musician and a guitarist.

I am always amazed at how few guitarists actually have goals for their playing. Most are
just sort of oating along, learning bits and pieces here and there, hoping somehow they
magically improve. How do you know what you need to study if you dont know where you
want to end up? The best example of the folly of not having a direction can be found in
the Alice in Wonderland story. Alice asked Which way should I go? The wise Cheshire Cat
responded by asking her Where do you want to get to?. Alice replied I dont much care
to which the Cat answered Then it doesnt matter which way you go. Likewise, as a guitarist and musician you should have a path laid out to take you where you ultimately want
to end up, or once again you will end up frustrated.
Just like setting goals for anything in your life, your musical goals can be comprised of
short term and long term goals. It is often good to set your long term goals rst and then
work backwards in time to gure out the steps you will need to take to get there.

Dening your long term goal is important and will help determine the things you work on.
For example, if your long term goal is to be a virtuoso and an in demand studio musician,
your path will be much different than if your goal is just to be able to play a few songs
to sing around the campre. Both are genuine goals, but have different routes you will
take to get there. You can have several long term goals: such as I want to be able to play
in a band I want to be able to write and record my own songs I want to know 50 Jazz
standards. But if you just leave it at that, it doesnt give you much direction on how to get
there. Many students I talk to have this problem. They have considered what they want to
be able to do, but have no idea what to work on next in order to get there.
Once you have a long term goal such as I want to be able to play in a band, you can work
backwards and state the short term goals like this. In order to be able to play in a band,
I need to be knowledgeable about chords and scales, and work on my rhythm. We will
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I SMART PRACTICE FOR GUITAR

See accompanying worksheets 5-6

put some of those short term action goals to work in the lists we will create in the next
section. As long as you have an overall vision of what you want to be able to do, that is a
great start.
Start with the long term and then work backwards until you come to the crucial point
What to work on NOW.

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I SMART PRACTICE FOR GUITAR

GOALS AND VISION WORKSHEET


Start with your long term, or ultimate goal for your guitar playing, and then work
backwards to nd out what to work on next. Remember to be specic, but know
that you can change and adjust your goals as you progress as a player.
My ultimate long term goal as a guitarist is to:

In order to get there here are the things I need to Learn:

More specic drill down:

Change:

More specic drill down:

In 6 months I want to be able to:

The top 3 things I can do today to jump start my journey are:


1.
2.
3
for Guitar

GOALS AND VISION WORKSHEET


Start with your long term, or ultimate goal for your guitar playing, and then work
backwards to nd out what to work on next. Remember to be specic, but know
that you can change and adjust your goals as you progress as a player.
My ultimate long term goal as a guitarist is to:
Be able to jam with friends and eventually play in a band for fun

Learn:

LE

In order to get there here are the things I need to -

More songs, new scales and techniques. How to get a better sound with my
amp. How to add notes to chords to change their sound.
More specic drill down:

5 new classic rock songs to jam on, Sunshine of your Love, Tush, Bad Moon
Rising, Roadhouse Blues, and Born to be Wild. Need to get all 5 patterns of the
Blues scale down, and nd some new exercises to practice my picking technique. I will experiment with tweaking the sounds on my amp and trying to get
a sound like I hear on a song. Learn what Alt chords are.
Change:

I need to change how I practice, need to be more organized and stick to a


schedule. I need to work on getting better gear.

More specic drill down:

EX

Commit to practicing 5 times a week for 1 hour each session, and stick to it all
week. I need to research new amps and make a list of all the things I want in
an amp, then check prices on the ones I nd.

In 6 months I want to be able to:


Improvise blues solos along with jam tracks. Know how to learn songs by ear.

The top 3 things I can do today to jump start my journey are:


1. Make time today to look at the next step in my SMART practice system
2. Get my practice area organized so I am ready
3

Play through all the scales I know and make notes about which ones I cant
do well.

for Guitar