2018: The Recap


At the end of every year comes the inevitable reflection of the immediate past. Last year, I outlined my goals for 2018, and wanted to take a moment (or hour +,  because that’s about how long it takes me to carefully construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct these blog posts) and evaluate my progress in the goals I set the last year.

This year was filled with many firsts and also a wholloping of forced changes, from an overnight move to a new job to name some.

Below are listed my goals from this past year and an evaluation of how I thought I did.

Big Goal1)-Create more income….


Mini Goal-Start Selling my Music

So, I technically succeeded with my first Official Sale! Fredonia Concert band was my first official patron and they premiered Of Wizards and Dragons in September of this year. Though I intended on pursuing this goal more aggressively, even taking part in The Portfolio Composer’s summer course on Copyrighting- until life got in the way of course- I fell short, simply because of my mental energy being spread in several different directions.

Did I Succeed? Kind of Sort of.


……and I did just that. Though I did not get as many students in my studio this year as I would have liked (hey, maybe that’s a 2019 goal), I just did it. And you know what? I found that I actually enjoy it and might actually be somewhat good at it. None of my students have died from my teaching from the date of this post- though they do not always like it when I make them count rhythm-Ha!

Did I Succeed?:YES!

Mini Goal -Keep educating myself and pick up some side gigs.

I did keep teaching myself and learned…not very much. I learned what sorts of side gigs are available but, I ‘m still a bit too cowardly to try many of them- I.e. Craigslist. Next year though, I’ll have to employ these ideas. Anybody want to buy a custom Ukulele? Or- better yet, some new music?

Additionally, I did not do many paying side gigs, though I am starting to get asked to play my trombone more, which counts for something, right?

I did, however, put what little extra I made toward the student loan and FINALLY paid off my car. So, YAY!

Did I succeed: Not really, but at least I have some guidance for next year.

Big goal 2): Create More on a consistent basis.

Mini goal-Preparedness

I’m just going to put this out there. My life got crazy and borderline depressing at times. The calendar helped some and was a good reminder to get the important things done. However, the creation of new things on a consistent basis was more of creating things on a consistent basis for 2 weeks, stop for a month or 3 from a crisis, and repeat the process all over again until December 31.

Did I succeed?: In being better prepared: Yes. Creating more as a result: Nope-but It was a good try.

But….I did have more premiers of old pieces then I’ve had in a long time. Woot!


Big Goal 3) Work on anxiety issues associated with creating and becoming a member of my musical community.


Mini goal- Get over my anxieties related to looking for work

I am proud to say that I am breaking this shell. After being in denial for so long about needing to look for a new full-time gig, with full-time hours in an environment I can thrive in, I finally started looking. The fact was that, while I succeed in starting a teaching studio, I failed at building it quickly enough to justify staying at my old job. I brought home just enough on a regular basis to pay my share in rent and food and…not much else. Additionally, I was not growing much beyond the same skillset in my old environment, which, mentally, was not good for me.

Toastmasters helped with this. I promise not to go on like an infomercial- trust me, enough people in the organization do- I can tell you that practicing communication, improvised speeches and presenting on a regular basis gave me some confidence that was not there a year ago.

This coming year, I can continue this goal, and apply this confidence and newfound stability to my music goals.

Mini Goal-Get out and interact with the community more

Mission Accomplished!!!!

I started by playing in more groups like the Minneapolis Trombone Choir and GVO and by subbing in some Jazz bands and orchestras. While I did not make it to as many concerts as I would have liked to, mostly due to budget constraints, I did manage to meet some cool people and even write a couple of new pieces as a result. Luckily, I was able to attend one master class and concert from Michael Dougherty when he was visiting the twin cities  University of Minnesota and experienced an awesome concert. There was much networking to be had that day. Also, I’ve been a lot more active on Twitter with some awesome strangers (until I hopefully meet them in person someday at a New Music music gathering or Midwest clinic etc) in the music community and have learned quite a bit from them. 

Did I Succeed?; You Betcha!

To summarize, this year was a tumultuous one for many reasons, particularly from February to November. While the year did not go according to plan (ha ha- moving overnight for health reasons and job searching is never fun and tends to put a dent in things)  I did accomplish more as far as starting to get out there and MUSIC with more people. This year was about foundation building and next year will be more of the same with less drama–I hope. By June, I expect to be able to go from sauntering to walking, and finally running.

Also, while it is easy to dwell on the awful things, some successes did happen. Here are some recordings of three of them. I hope you enjoy!

How did your 2018 go with music goals go? I would love to hear about it.




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