Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Goal without a Plan is just a Wish

I bet many of you are not list-tickers or clock-slaves, but for me, paying attention to what I'm doing and writing it down has always been a helpful strategy ... in all sorts of endeavors. It's not surprising, then, that I would rely on some sort of record keeping to maintain focus on my music goals.

I use a spread sheet on the computer to keep my music goals in sight. I list tunes, make notes, record time spent, document who I've played with, etc. etc. True, tracking details of a practice session takes time, but once a system is in place, it's not so bad. Depending on the time available, my notes are more or less detailed but basic information is always there. Because of this habit, I'm able to report specifics about what's been going on in the practice room this past month ... 
  • In the month of February I logged 36 practice hours, beating January's time by 8 hours!
  • Thanks to Leap Day, Betsy (my music partner) and I managed to fit in five practice sessions plus a gig. Our repertoire has been reviewed and improved.
  • I'm continuing to make progress on Sandbridge 2015 tune list:  Farewell Trion is the new tune, but while I'm at it, I'm reviewing Lady of the Lake and Shenandoah Falls in order to play all in medley as found on Ken Kolodner's recording, Journey to the Heartland. I'm improving these tunes with a variety of arrangement ideas, harmonies, solid backups, and more swing. I'm having fun playing the basic tune and backup for Halfpast Four. And the classic Kentucky Waltz is in the bag, complete with backup.
March Goals:
  • Maintain current practice schedule at average of 1.25 hours per day.
  • Practice once per week with Betsy.
  • Prepare for and have fun at annual hammered dulcimer retreat with friends. Looking forward to jamming, practicing shared repertoire, and preparing for neighborhood house concert.
  • Continue working on Sandbridge 2015 tune list


Learn all tunes from Sandbridge 2015, deadline October 2016.

Want to read more about my 2016 Practice Project?
  • New Year's resolution? Getting back on track - January 6 
  • Progress report for January plus specific goals - January 27 


  1. I always find these posts on practice inspiring, Sue. Thanks!

    1. Glad to help in any little way, Lynn. The encouragement goes both ways here!

  2. In fact, would you consider sharing your spreadsheet?