The Value of a Personal Musical Vision Statement – Part 1

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Vision Statement

©iStockphoto.com/AnsonLu

Do you have a personal musical vision statement? By turning your dreams and goals into your own musical vision, you can achieve more, enjoy productive practice time, and take more pleasure in your playing.

In part one of this two-part blog post, I explore the differences between dreams, goals and vision. In part two, I will help you create your own personal musical vision statement.

Helping students set goals is an important part of my harp teaching. We all need to have a goal to work toward, an “end” to the practice process. Without short-term and long-term goals, it is difficult to measure progress, or even be fully committed to a practice schedule.

Here near the end of summer, my students and I take some time to set goals for their harp study during the year. At the same time, I encourage them to dream a little and imagine something musical they would enjoy doing. Perhaps it’s a special piece of music that they want to be able to play someday, even if it’s several years in the future. Or maybe there is a place they would like to play, a competition they want to enter, a short program of music they want to be able to play for their friends and family.

Then we turn some of those dreams into visions, and then make sure our goals are taking us in the right directions to achieve those dreams.

So what is the difference between a dream, a goal and a vision, and how can you create a personal musical vision?

Dreams. Dreams are important. When you dream about doing something wonderful, you are exercising your creativity, which in our busy lives can be an under-used ability. Dreams are rooted in imagination and unconcerned with reality. We can dream about winning Olympic gold, or playing at Carnegie Hall, or discovering a cure for cancer. All of these things are possible for someone, although maybe not for us.

Goals. Goals are at the other end of the spectrum. They are the ultimate in reality. They are action-oriented and definite. Goals include step-by-step plans to achieve a desired result. If you do this, then that will happen.

Vision. Vision falls neatly in the middle, where dreams and goals can meet. Think of vision as the merging of imagination and possibility. A personal musical vision takes your dreams for your music-making, grounds it in reality and creates a plan for achieving it. Vision is where your dreams come alive, where they actually happen.

If you want to start the process of creating your personal musical vision statement (and I think you should!), complete this two-step homework assignment:
1. Write down ten dreams for yourself, at least five of which are music-related. Let your imagination run free; no reality checks at this stage. If it sounds good to you, write it down! Some good music to dream by: “Reverie” by Claude Debussy, performed by harpist Xavier de Maistre.

2. Follow through by reading part two of this blog post, coming next week. (Hint: If you subscribe to the HarpMastery blog, you won’t miss part two. Use the easy email subscription form on this page, or subscribe to the RSS feed link, also on this page.)

Any questions about dreams, goals or vision? Ask away…

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