I am not big on New Year’s Resolutions these days. This year, I have decided to imagine that it was already December of 2017. I started to think about what I could accomplish this year that would make me immensely proud, and then I started to think about how I can do regular small actions to make them happen. Essentially, I started to think about how I can actively change by life through new habits.
Currently, I already brush and floss my teeth, read books, play music (either my piano, cello, or ukulele), and do some kind of exercise (even if it is just a little) every day. What’s great about these daily practices is that they are already attached to specific times. Brushing happens in the mornings and evenings. Flossing and reading takes place before bed. Music is played for at least a half hour (usually longer) in the evenings and so on . . .
This year, I want to develop new habits that enhance my creative abilities. So here is a list of them and how I hope to get them accomplished:
1. Goal: Write 52 Blog Posts in 2017
How: Spend at least 5 minutes every morning writing, and publish a new post on Monday or Tuesday every week.
At the core of all my creative pursuits, I have always been a writer. Being able to express myself through words has been a conduit and catalyst for my music, lyrics, and virtually everything else. I have learned that writing is a skill that needs to be practiced. Especially since I am currently in college, my writing abilities need to be at the top of their game. Writing every day will help me do this, and since this blog is my own sort of online journal, it is the perfect outlet and forum for me to practice my writing and share my thoughts.
2. Goal: Learn to read and play 2 difficult pieces of classical music
1. Impromptu #4 (Opera 90) by Franz Schubert
2. Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig Van Beethoven
How: Study just one line of sheet music per week (the equivalent of about 3 to 5 stanzas). Go over them every night during regular practice.
As a pianist, I am actually pretty terrible at reading music. When I think about how I learned to read letters and numbers, it was a gradual and very consistent process. Learning a long piece of music incrementally will help me understand how to play it better. I chose two different pieces for the qualities they possess. The Schubert piece is more about virtuosity through speed and rhythm, and the Beethoven piece emphasizes mood and emotional expression. I have my work cut out for me, but I really want to do this.
3. Goal: Learn how to play the ukulele
How: Memorize one new song to play and sing every month in 2017. Practice every night. Song for January: Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton
I already play the piano and the cello. The problem with both is that neither is terribly convenient to carry around. My cello is petite and delicate, and I have already broken it once. I have owned a ukulele now for about 4 yours without actually digging deep to learn it. I can take it EVERYWHERE with me. I already know how to play a couple of songs, and I think it is time to really start branching out.
4. Goal: Do more with watercolor
How: Paint a new piece for every blog post in 2017. One night every week will be dedicated to painting. Continue with “Year of Color” practice on social media by posting this art.
I have recently been geeking out on watercolor. I have this adorable portable set that comes with a brush, sponge, and thirty colors. This is far less expensive and messy than oil painting, and it is super fun. One new piece every week means 52 pieces by the end of the year. Woah. I am still trying to figure out which actual night will work best, but as you can see at the top of this post, I have already started.
5. Goal: Improve my cello hold and learn vibrato
How: Consult with as many cellists and experts as much as possible. Do research through weekly lessons and practice on Sundays.
By this time, I have no doubt that I can play the cello and consistently produce a solid tone, but I still experience pain in my hands when I play. Perhaps this is par for the course for any cellist, but I want to do all that I can to play well and not damage my hands. If by the end of this year, I have not improved my technique and eliminated pain, I may retire my cello pursuits altogether. It is just not worth the damage to my hands if I cannot fix this. Lastly, learning to play vibrato is one of the aspects of cello music that makes it sound so darn beautiful. I live to play beautiful music. So, let’s do this.
There you have it. I’ll be checking in about all of these pursuits throughout the year both here and on social media. Please feel free to ask me how I am doing.
What do you hope to accomplish by the end of this year?