How to Use Measurable Goals

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In a recent post aimed at helping musicians achieve goals and learn how to practice more effectively, I wrote about the SMART Goal system.

Today’s post focuses on the “M” in SMART.

M stands for Measurable.

There needs to be some aspect of your musical goal that can be measured easily.  Without this measurement in place, you will have difficulty knowing when you have achieved the goal!

You can measure various aspects of the music.  It’s up to you.  Here are three suggestions:

1.  A pre-determined amount of material to learn.  Instead of tackling an entire piece, work on the first two sections only.

2. A specific metronome marking.  Tempo makes a great target for measurement.

3. A certain number of repetitions you can play without making any mistakes.

Each of these is quantifiable, and you will know when you have achieved your objective.

The measurable aspect of goal setting is the easiest to add if you’re not using it now when you develop your goals.

For instance, if your goal is to play a certain song by next week, just include a tempo you’re targeting for run-throughs in one week’s time.  It doesn’t have to be your final performance tempo.  But it does have to be measurable.

With measurable goals, you will see yourself climbing toward your destination as the week progresses.  Meeting the measurable goal feels like winning a game.  You will be victorious in achieving your goal!

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