Achievable Music Goals


in Methods

Achievable Music Goals in the next step to build off the challenge choices of goal setting. One of the main stumbling blocks with goal setting is balancing an ambition with capability. It’s in the recognition of believing that the objective is achievable and in the ability of skill to get there.

Make Your Music Goal Achievable:

Your goals should be realistic and suited to your present capabilities. You won’t go from playing chop sticks to performing a 35 minute classical sonata in a month. There are many steps you have to learn and practice along the way to achieve that ultimate goal.

Gratification Tolerance

It may be that all your choices are attainable, but it may take many years to actually achieve those goals. So in defining the objective you need to also determine your gratification tolerance.

For many of us today, instant gratification has become the expectation. Many businesses take this knowledge and provide us with products and even services that give us what we want at the moment. Fast food may be one of the best examples. Drive up, order, pay, and get your burger in just a couple of minutes.

The problem with thinking that you are going to sit down and instantly learn one of Mozart’s minuets or to take a piece of fake music and voice all the jazz chords in a few minutes is unrealistic for the beginner, or even for the seasoned player.

Knowing your limitations

Knowing if your goal is achievable is not always a straight forward process. You need to know what limitations you have, such as, time, knowledge, determination, and even motivation.

Time may be the easy one to figure out. Look at your normal day now and determine if you have 10 or 15 minutes to focus on music or if you could a lot a couple of hours on a consistent basis.

Time commitment will also relate to your knowledge or gain of knowledge and how determined you are to advancing to your goal.


A big part of achievable goals is the “why”. Why are you are going after any one particular objective? “Why” is the motivation behind the drive of achieving your goal.

Determine the Achievability

There are several components to determine the achievability. Here are some the critical ones you may ask.

First explain the “why” in concrete terms. Example I want to challenge myself to accomplish (insert challenge) because I want to (insert why)

Second, ask: “What skills might be needed to achieve that goal?” Do I need to learn a new scale or define chords I’m unfamiliar with? What skills do I have now that apply?

Third, state how much time you can devote to the task on a daily or weekly basis. Is this reasonable based on your normal day or week?

There are others but this is a good basis for looking at achievable goals.


I want to learn how to play Mozart’s Rondo in Am (a 15 minute piece of music), because I heard it performed and I want to be able to perform that piece of music for my Parents 40th wedding anniversary in two years.

I need a lot of skills, such as learning the 4 significant scales used in the piece and specifically the harmonic A minor system of chords, learning to express the phrases to bring out the intimate nature of the piece.

I can devote 20 minutes a day to just this piece and up to 3 hours on weekend days. There are six distinct sections of the rondo and it is 11 pages long. In the first year I can learn a page a month, in the second year I can polish one section a month. Four months before the performance I will work on phrasing and spend 30 minutes a day working on it. I’ll devote 15 minutes on specific passages/phrases and 15 minutes on playing the entire song.

This example is a real case. It was several years later after I first heard this piece of music before I had developed all the skills I needed to perform this piece of music. I actually had a lot more to learn than I expected.

Your Turn

The objective is to try and look at what you want to accomplish and define it well enough to see if it is in your achievable range. You may do the exercise like I did above and decide that it’s too big a goal at this time. You may say I want to learn the first verse of a song, a much smaller part of a bigger picture and focus only on that. Then when you have made significant progress you can add more to your goals.

Take your challenges

For each of your challenges you defined previously, write down the why, skills, time available, and anything else that you might consider as a potential need to accomplishing your goal.

Recommended resources:





Some reference books for your consideration as well.




Stephenie May 18, 2010 at 9:18 pm

I completely agree with this weeks post. Setting realistic goals will help maintain motivation and confidence in ones own view of their music talent and ability to learn. In my own experience, I have found myself get discouraged or walk away from musical projects because I haven’t given myself ample time or practice to achieve the goal.

Brad_C May 19, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Thanks for sharing Stephenie, I don’t recall how many I walked away from because I was ready to tackle the project. Only when I’ve come back a couple of years later I was well on my way to easily accomplishing those first projects. Was it more talent or more skill. I believe it was knowledge plus skill that then increases talent.

Setting the right goals is taking a hard look at your skill and motivation level. Hope the insights here help define those better for everyone.

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