The winters here in the eastern parts of Austria hardly ever include lots of snow. It’s not like in the Alps at all. But it can get cold and in general it’s the time of the year where I miss my stay in California the most. When I long for the California sun, the nice temperatures, the beaches, etc…
Still, I love December.
Especially the transitional period between the Christmas holidays and the new year. When it’s time to reflect and analyze what worked and what didn’t work.
It’s exciting to create new plans with the new year like a blank canvas to fill before you.
The Recipe for Failure
Lots of people find new year’s resolutions lame or set themselves up for failure. They create unrealistic resolutions or goals that they think they should set without enough emotional investment to help push through the inevitable obstacles.
And when those resolutions are (naturally) broken as early as on the 2nd or 3rd of January they then diminish self-esteem and self-respect.
I used to make this mistake in the past myself. And it’s tough to beat this all-or-nothing syndrome where you feel like a failure and abandon your resolution completely just because you fell off and slipped.
I’m no goal-setting guru at all but slowly I’ve learned to view my resolutions not as yes/no or true/false propositions but rather as a series of experiments, where it’s ok to fail.
Because fail you will, initially.
However, as long as you continue, observe and learn the initial failure turns into success (for lack of a better word).
Here are a couple of such experiments or challenges (check out the Challenge of the Month concept) in regards to AdvancingMusician for 2014.
1) Valuable Content
Initially I wanted to announce that I’ll create more content – similar to other bloggers who have a fixed weekly or daily posting schedule. And while such a fixed publishing schedule would be nice, I don’t want to set my self up for failure right from the start.
There’ll be busy weeks with various free-lance projects on top of my regular teaching, so I know it won’t be possible for me to post daily. Sure, a few paragraphs with a quick observation here or some other blurb there should always be manageable. But I don’t want to just hit publish for the sake of getting an article out.
I will write as often as possible (maybe even daily) to improve my writing chops – but I’ll spare you a daily dose of bla bla from me if there’s nothing of real value in it.
So rest assured that I’ll only push the publishing button when I think that the article is ready and has something of value to offer to you.
2) Deeper Content
I want to implement more varied types of content with supplemental media.
What do I mean?
So far, I’ve published reviews, how-to articles, etc… and I definitely want to continue with those.
But with some new tools like Notion 4, Guitar Pro 6 and Neckdiagrams in my arsenal, I look forward to enhancing my articles and tutorials with music scores, guitar tabs and chord diagrams. I hope this will make the content more useful to you.
A biggie for 2014 will be video. I have a couple of video projects (unrelated to AdvancingMusician) in the pipeline. I’ll let you know about those at a later time, but some of it might find its way to this site as well.
So, there might be the occasional video tutorial coming along – which I’m really excited about.
4) The 2014 Album Project
For many years there was this dream of releasing an album. Early on, it still included a major record label and a “real” CD publication. Nowadays, there’s no real need for a major record label – with all the self-publishing options available, it might even be the better route.
Why haven’t I already published my music?
Good, valid question.
A couple of reasons:
- Life got in the way
- I’ve been busy teaching and/or with other projects
- And there were still self-doubts like am I good enough, do I have something to say lingering around
(Self-doubt appeasement in the form of procrastination a la “let’s master the lydian flat 7 scale first before I can do something” is another topic worthy of a future article.)
And I did produce a ton of tracks for various publishing companies and TV stations for quite some time.
But after a while, it’s tiring and creatively draining to produce to spec or compose tracks that are nothing more than background fodder.
So, consider this my public, accountability generating goal-setting announcement.
In 2014 I’ll finish a real, proper album.
1 Track per Month
I’ll accomplish this by composing/producing 1 track a month.
And if you accept my invitation and follow along, I’ll let you in on the behind the scenes production. I’ll write about my inspiration, my challenges, share project details, sound design and production techniques, song analysis and of course, let you listen to the finished tracks.
I won’t be too hard on myself in regards to the deadline(s) and consider the project or myself a failure if the song is not completely finished on the last of the month. Hey, you can’t or shouldn’t force your creativity and there will be certain times that I might have an increased workload due to income-generating free-lance projects.
So the 1 song/month is a guideline – I’ll definitely make it a top priority and work towards completion, but if I finish a song a week later or postpone production in order to bring in some of my musician friends for recording, then that’s the way it is, ok?
I’m excited about this project – and I’ve actually already begun planning.
My next couple of posts will deal with some of the those preparations, and don’t worry, this will not be some ego-centered project that’s only about me, my compositions or my personal workflow. Hopefully, you’ll be able to gain some insights that will help you in your own projects. Or you’ll be able to avoid some mistakes or at the very least, it’ll be a somewhat entertaining read throughout all of 2014.
Anyways, I wish you all the best for 2014.