2010 Musical Goals
My annual goals have become simpler over the past few years. Although I've made good progress as a musician and an artist, I now feel that setting more specific targets may be necessary to help prioritize my time and focus my musical energies. Besides that, setting nebulous goals doesn't leave me with anything to write about in a year-end review.
2010 Musical Goals in Priority Order
- Ear Training
Although I've become fairly adept at finding new and interesting chord voicings and can name them with a bit of effort, I'm weak at identifying the essential character of chord alterations and extensions by ear. I'd also like to be able to recognize chord inversions. Improvements in this area should feed back into my ability to hear and play more complex tunes.
My tunes are becoming gradually more interesting. I feel that I need to develop not only a larger catalog of compositional techniques, but also an expanded basis in my theoretical understanding of how a tune may grow and evolve.
I've put a lot of effort into developing my own style over the past five years. It's about time for me to learn apply some new clichés from other well-known styles. If nothing else, this could help me when collaborating with other musicians.
I've been putting this off for far too long, mostly because I don't care for the work involved in making recordings. This year I'll make an effort to assemble some multi-part tunes in the studio. I'm not going to commit to a number of tunes or a frequency of releases (or even that I will release anything at all), but rather that I'll concentrate on developing a process for working in the studio. Baby steps...
From 2004 until 2008 I played alone. In 2008 I joined with old friends Stephen Caird and Joe Williams to write and play tunes once a week and to play a couple of short showcase sets. For 2010 I resolve to find additional collaborators, probably on a one-off basis. The key to making this work, I think, will be in offering to contribute to other people's projects.
I've put reading (standard musical notation) on my goals a couple of times in the past, yet have shied away from the commitment in time, effort and - frankly - drudgery required. I finally realized that by changing the primary goal to one of transcription, the reading should follow naturally. LCW (the nearly two year old collaboration with Stephen and Joe) has generated nearly a hundred hours of recorded tunes and musical ideas. Stephen, in a herculean effort this past summer, distilled the recordings then available into four hours of unique (no repetitions) original music. We have created more since then. Finding something to transcribe will not be a problem.
This follows naturally from transcription, I hope...
This is a perennial goal. I'll take just about any opportunity to perform, subject to some modest constraints regarding fair remuneration.
Certain areas of my technique have become weak with five years of concentration on fingerstyle guitar. This year I'll attempt to recover and expand my plectrum technique.
I have a pretty good appreciation of chord construction. I think that spending some time on key relationships and functional harmony may help to bolster my compositional toolkit.
For the first time in years I find myself in a state of stasis with respect to gear. A flurry of sales and acquistions during the second half of 2009 miraculaously left my gear fund up two hundred dollars over the end of 2008. At this point nothing remains for sale and I have no need or desire for additional gear. I'll be saving my pennies pending delivery of a Koll archtop commissioned last May. While I know better than to say that I'll try to hold the line w.r.t. current gear, I would be perfectly happy to end 2010 with the same gear I have now.
Thanks to Mary-Suzanne for offering excellent and insightful suggestions and feedback regarding my 2010 goals, and to Stephen Caird and Joe Williams for many enjoyable Thursday evenings of creating music.