2013 is the year I hope I’ll move from amateur musician to semi-pro (or at least with a shot of being so) – this is my make-or-break coming-of-age year and it will be a hell of a lot of work to get to that level – this will be my biggest time commitment this year. The goals are:
1) Combined practice target of at least 720-730 hours or more – this is 15 hours a week on average.
2) Finish writing the 3rd album, do acoustic studio recordings and get it professionally mastered ready for release.
3) Be gig-ready on guitar by the end of the year (bonus points for actually doing a gig!)
4) Be performance-ready on (classical) piano by the end of the year (bonus points for actually doing a recital!)
That’s it really – anything more detailed (numbers of songs written or learned or recorded) just sends me a little bit potty and the idea is to enjoy exploring what I love and finding my own sound, so that I’ll be motivated to put in the hours I’ll need to build the skills I want to have. There may well be further goals that emerge during the year. Goals 2 and 3 overlap because if I’m ready to do single-take recordings of the songs on the album, then I should be ready to perform them as well.
Sometimes I read other singer-songwriters’ blogs or websites and I can just picture how incredibly and simply happy I would feel if I was a professional musician, if people came to hear me play because they liked what they heard, if all I had to think about was practice and gigs and new song ideas… I would feel so FREE – that’s the only way to put it. Like I found my way to exist in the world without this constant need to struggle. If I can just improve my skills enough to have the confidence that I am worth listening to, I reckon there’s a possibility I could have that dream – I really need to focus in on that feeling and spend more time visualising what it would be like.
The concrete skills I need to work on are (besides the general practice and writing goals above):
- Vocal strength, health and flexibility – that I can trust my voice to do what I want it to, and to get it to do more
- Vocal range and tone – that I can trust my voice to hit the notes I want it to!
- Guitar technique – barre chords are still killing me a bit, I need to with find a way to resolve it or get the action lowered. Buying a decent capo would give me much more choice of keys.
- Strumming and picking patterns.
- Piano skills, but to a lesser extent as I think realistically in a gigging environment it’s guitar that wins out. But still, there must be room in those 720 hours to perfect some piano skillz too right?!
I also need to just learn more songs, and learn them well (not just give up when I can play them reasonably) – my new songs, my reworked songs, and some covers that work. I need to work on recording more and try to perfect something each week or so to upload, and set aside time to make it presentable. I also need to sort out what I’m doing about my web presence and get into a routine.
There’s no lack of things to do then…!