My 2021 Music Goals

If 2020 was a year of dismantling and destruction, 2021 will be a rebuilding year. This coming years resolutions have a lot to do with this, and I aim to rebuild my existence into the individual I’ve been aiming to be since starting this musical journey over a decade ago.

BIG GOAL: Make More Money/ Be able to solely do MUSIC to survive.

I’m sure that this seems like a lofty goal, but the years preceding this one were the steps on the ladder to that loft. Thankfully, I am used to being frugal and making a little go a long way when needed, and am LUCKY to have my SO around to help these days. Don’t worry. I still aim to do my share financially. We aren’t the Rockefeller family after all ūüėČ

One of my reasons also has to do with my desire to work for myself and control my schedule. I am much happier when I don’t have to ask permission from someone else and can control my own schedule. Yes I know that to make a music career, it requires more hours than the typical 9-5, but I’ve tried that several times, and found through trial and error that I am much happier immersed in music. That, and I’m wise enough to know that I need to keep variety within the spectrum of music activities to avoid burnout and know the signs much better now.

Mini Goal: Sell 10 scores of my own music. My goal is a minimum of 25 total including arrangements.

For me, joining SMP was a good move in 2020. This has allowed me to start selling some of the arrangements I’ve had sitting on my hard drive for the last decade and allowed me to offer digital downloads. This was something I had been trying to figure out how to do, but the start up cost far outweighed what I can afford, especially given I’m not quite at the point where I can confidently say that my sales would recoup the cost. Originally, I joined because 2 distributers I had contacted in January of last year decided I wasn’t for them but ironically recommended each other for me to contact. I guess I’m ……unique?

So far, I’ve sold far more than expected, but because most of my sales have been arrangements, I’ve made just enough to afford 4 cups of Starbucks coffee in commissions. It’s definitely a start though!

In 2021, I’ll be updating my FB page weekly as new arrangements and pieces come out. If you have a request for an arrangement and it’s on the SMP list, please contact me and let me know.

I’ll be curious to see how this pans out as I add more.

Mini Goal: 15 students by June

While I don’t like putting a number on people, this is the realistic number I’ve calculated to be able to pull my weight financially and still be safe on average. This is of course after calculating taxes and rent.

As of now, thanks to a Festivus miracle, (actually some amazing people providing referrals) I am only 5 away from this goal.

Ultimately, I hope to grow this number a bit beyond 15. This is my benchmark for the moment.

BIG GOAL: Get to know more people

Mini Goal: Contact 2 new people in music/ month minimum

As an introvert, this is not easy to convince myself to do. I often think about it and even draft emails in my head but never get to it for whatever reason. 2 people a month is manageable. I might even surpass it if I can safety attend some music gatherings in 2021 ( and convince myself to do so of course :P). I’ll be keeping a checklist in my journal to remind myself.

Big Goal: Write 3 hours minimum of music

In my journal I will have a thermometer and every time I finish a piece ( even if it’s something that might not see the light of day), I will color it in. If I remember, I’ll even update you on my progress at every check in post.

Mini Goal:Create more creative opportunities

Talking with more people will hopefully help with this!

Big Goal: Be even more giving and spread more JOY

Mini Goal: Send more notes in the form of cards and emails

A few months ago I started picking a composer on my social media friends lists every few days and listening to their music. In 2021, I will continue this as I’ve gotten to hear so many wonderful creations and gotten to know my colleague’s music better. I will be letting composers know I listened to their work and send more encouragement in the form of DM’s and emails.

Mini goal: volunteer my time in a musical capacity at least 4 times

Time will tell how this shapes up. Maybe I’ll perform for a charity event or just for my community. Or, maybe I’ll be able to help out a fellow musician some random way. Who knows.

One of my goals for my teaching studio is to have at least 3 recitals this year and am hoping to stream at least one to a retirement community. Fingers crossed this works out (and that I have some willing fellow volunteers).

So, what are your 2021 Music Goals? Please let me know in the comments and may 2021 be a WINNING year!

Happy Musicing!

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My 2020 Music Goals

As is now the tradition for me, I have written down my music related goals for this coming year.

The reason that I do this is because it gives me something tangible to periodically look back on and remind me of the things that I set out to accomplish. As a person who is very focused yet paradoxically gets distracted easily, this is very helpful to have when it comes to staying on track.

BIG GOAL: Pay off the last of my student debt

As of December of 2019, after years of sacrificing 90% of of my “fun money” (the little bit left over after bills and minimum payments are made) , I am down to my last 5K. Though there is far more debt to tackle (mainly the mess that is my SO’s student loan and the last bit for the used car that we purchased after their’s died), this will be a huge load off my back. The bit of anxiety I’ve felt since starting college because of this will finally be gone! Additionally, though much of my “fun” money will still go to start helping with my SO’s loans, I can start saving for things like buying scores, taking colleagues out for coffee more often, and grad school applications (if that is the road I go down for sure. This year will be a big indicator if/ when I can or should do that).

Mini Goal: Actually get better at marketing

I am going to start by aiming to get something out at least once a week. This may be a piece, a blog post, or (ghasp) a youtube video. Stay tuned for more on this one.

I will also make more of an effort to be more interactive on social media by either posting or commenting at least once a day.

Mini Goal: Finish setting up the store and sell some gosh danged scores (at least 5)

This is self explanatory. 2020’s the year it’s going to happen.

Part of my plan is to contact some music distribution companies to help get my music electronically accessible as well. (As of now, I can only offer physical (but personally autographed) copies as I lack the funds to pay for the technology that would help me prevent electronic file theft at a level that I’m comfortable with.

Mini Goal: Increase teaching studio numbers

My goal number for 2020 is 10 students. I am trying to keep it to no more than 3 evenings to avoid burnout as I already work 40 hours a week at my day job. This makes it more difficult, but, I am determined. Also, this will certainly help me build up the wealth I gave up by committing to paying these loans. The ultimate goal though is financial freedom.

Marketing with social media posts, hanging posters for my teaching business, and handing out cards for those who can help me with the word of mouth factor should help.

BIG GOAL: Be more giving/ pay things forward more

Though there is a long way to go to get where I want to go, I am thankful for where I am in life and acknowledge that a big part was because of the help and kindness I’ve received from strangers, mentors, and friends.

As soon as my 5K is done, I am going to begin donating a portion of what I used to have to pay on a regular basis. I am going to pick a couple of the helpful podcasts I’ve taken advice from or gotten enjoyment out of in an otherwise bleak existence over past years, and join their patreon pages. I won’t name which ones I’m going to pick. But, I have an idea for a future post where I outline my current favorites and you can speculate from there if you’d like.

I also aim to help out with a charity at least once (preferably more) this year by giving back some time.

My last part of this goal is to treat at least one person to lunch and/ or coffee per month.

BIG GOAL: Participate in at least 3 speaking, conducting or solo performance opportunities

As someone who wants to do this for a living, I need to get out of the Toastmaster’s training grounds and start putting these skills to use in the outside world. This is the bare minimum and I will do my bet to list them in next year’s follow up post.

Mini Goal: Participate in at least 1 Collaboration

Assuming that participation in Film Score Fest works out, this goal should be no problem.

Mini Goal: Finish all Current Works in progress and don’t add any new ones if you are over 3.

As of now, I’m finishing up the last Painless Parker’s Giant Bucket of Teeth (for Concert band), the electronic piece that my Composition Mentor has me learning with, and this year’s Minneapolis Trombone Choir Concert Piece.

Once one of these is finished, I’ll begin work on a Project that I cannot talk about….yet, and brass band piece.

BONUS: As this is a special year being the beginning of a decade, I thought I’d list a few things I want to accomplish in this upcoming decade that are music related. These may have to change, but for now I can dream and begin aiming. At the very least, I have this list to refer back to when making future goal posts.

  1. Go to Grad school- FOR MUSIC-and not go into debt to do so
  2. Pay off All Debt
  3. Attend some composer retreats and workshops
  4. Teach at a high profile event or music camp
  5. Be able to travel a few times a year for my Ideal music “job”
  6. Write my first symphony and compose at least one Big piece a year (with premiers and commissions of course)
  7. Be able to make my living composing, teaching, and performing/ occasionally conducting by the end of this decade

Thanks for reading!!!

Update on Summer Vacation ’13 and Goal list

A while ago, I posted a blog entry which outlined my intended goals for the summer of 2013. With the Summer drawing to a close and the beginning of the last  year of my undergrad swiftly approaching, I feel that this is a good time to reflect on what I have done  and still need to accomplish before school starts.

Goal number one: Compose/arrange twenty minutes of music

Mission Acomplished! However, the pursuit of this goal had some mixed/unintended results.

1)Orchestrating the rest of Of Wizards and Dragons For Wind Ensemble-and in the process learning how to orchestrate- This piece is now about 65% done. In the process of playing with this piece and having received valuable guidance From Scott Pfitzinger this summer, I have learned so much about this process, but there is still so much that I want/ need to learn still. There are  so many possibilities that I want to exploit before releasing the final version.

2)Working on Music for The Adventure Path series, and hoping to write a blog post about it soon-More Music has been written. However, before I can post a blog entry, I must get permission and clearance from the producers. Development for the series is now in progress and it sounds as though it will be awesome when it’s done. If you are interested in learning more about the series,¬†click HERE for a link to their Facebook page.

3) Writing an accapella vocal piece per request of my teacher– This work is now in progress!

4) Correcting old scores, touching up Hoover’s Paradise,¬†and finishing my just for fun band arrangement of Ghostbusters– Hoover’s Paradise has been improved/ reworked ¬† (and will hopefully be premiered this School year!) However, I have yet ¬†to finish the rest of this goal¬†due to some of the pieces that have popped up. To Elaborate:

a) A¬† Fanfare that¬†I had hoped would¬†be played¬† sometime during a YSU Football game this season. It blends elements of YSU’s Alma Mater ( a melody from Brahms Symphony no 1) and the Fight Song. There is also an audience involvement cheer as well. At least¬†the experience of having written it will hopefully help prepare me for¬†if I ever¬†get a commission to write something akin to it in the future.

b) Characture, a woodwind quintet that I had begun in early spring has been expanded an completed (outside of the edits that are sure to appear in my lesson). The piece illustrates the situations and people that one may encounter on a daily basis.

c) A just for fun brass trio about ¬†cloud-sailing pirates. This has been put away for the time being but will likely be picked up on a day when ¬†the orchestration for¬†‘Dragons¬†isn’t flowing.

d)The Essay-UPDATE: due to a last minute situation with personnel, we were unable to perform it as planned. However, the professor has offered us the chance to come in and perform it in one of his fall classes. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned but I am elated that he is giving ¬†us this chance. I am currently in the process of negotiating a time/date for the performance. Also, if anything, the piece will be performed live at my upcoming senior ¬†composition recital (Date TBA).

Goal Number Two: Get as much trombone performance and practice in as possible

This goal is a never ending work in progress. Currently, I am working on the audition excerpts even more so after a lesson that turned simultaneously into  a confirmation that the work has been paying off and a wake up call that I need to learn the excerpts much better than I felt that I had them.

YACCB Trombones 2013 playing the National Anthem at the Scrappers baseball  game  August 11th.
YACCB Trombones 2013 playing the National Anthem at the Scrappers baseball game August 11th.

I feel that joining the YACCB for the summer was the best decision I made for improving my playing because of the ample performing opportunities and, the commitment that I had made gave me even more incentive to pick up my horn and practice. Also, as an added bonus, the Trombone section had the privilege of playing the Star Spangled Banner at ¬†a Scrappers baseball game this past Sunday, This is an opportunity I would have missed if I didn’t join.

Goal number Three: Learn something new

I have definitely accomplished this goal and then some. Camping at Pennsic was the best thing that I did for this.  During that wonderful week in the current middle ages, I was taught (rather unexpectedly) how to tell a story as people might have done back then (and told to stand up and do it myself- and I enjoyed it too), the history, identification and application of henna, tips for performance in front of an audience, the art of filk and folk songs of the SCA, and a host of other miscellaneous facts.

Also, I learned that:

Tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family

Pirates and sailors  used limes, not usually oranges, to treat scurvy.

Pirates would use rum for a variety of things, most notably to sterilize water (or to drink instead of water because alcohol kills germs and was deemed safer than water) and to get a person who needed a limb amputated , possibly from gangrene, so drunk that he wouldn’t really care that he was ¬†in immense pain.

There is a proper method to choosing and tying a leather belt.

The Ghostbusters theme matches the medieval dance “Black Nag”.

Celtic/ Indian history fascinates me.

Goal number Four: Make sure that I spend some time with Friends every week and do something non music related with them (at least 3 hours per week).

I feel that I have done a good job in holding this goal up. Also, in keeping with learning something new as well, I have begun taking  weekly driving lessons.

Now my new goals to accomplish before I run out of time are to send out the rest of my letters, get the rest of the portfolio ready to send out, and to get some new music posted to the site for some feedback.