A number of posts/comments have gotten me thinking about my cello-related goals. In less than a month it will be my one year anniversary of playing the cello, which gets me thinking about what I’d like to accomplish for the coming year. Some people have made New Year’s goals, such as Michael did in this post and The Neophyte Cellist did also. Emily Wright talked about physical goals in The how and what of good practice. I don’t normally make New Year’s goals or anything of the like. Either they are obviously do-able — “I will learn to play in 6th position” — or they are unrealistic and unhelpful — “I will learn to play Prelude #1. But then Warren’s comments to me in What My Inner Voice Has to Say got me thinking.
I’m a very goal oriented person (says the person who just claimed not to make yearly goals.) Perhaps I should say I’m a results oriented person. This isn’t always the most fun way to be, as Warren so gently pointed out. At first I was thinking that perhaps I’m just stuck being miserable on this front because it’s fairly impossible to change one’s nature — I’m not likely to become a process oriented person any time soon. Then I was wondering how I could work with my natural tendencies to help myself enjoy the process more. Somehow Emily’s post came to mind, mingled with Warren’s comments, and an idea was born: process oriented goals.
Here they are:
1. I will enjoy the sound of my cello. I do not have a the most beautiful instrument in the world, but it is a step-up model and is a far cry from the lousy student models my teacher’s other students are stuck with. In the weeks before my first lesson I couldn’t do anything except play open strings, which I did most every day because I simply loved the sound of the instrument. I chose the cello because it’s beautiful, even when played badly — even when it’s played badly by me. Every day is a day to take joy in the beautiful sounds my instrument produces.
2. I will enjoy the music I’m playing. I don’t always love the pieces I’m playing, but even in my least favorite pieces I can find a phrase or a few measures that make me smile. Sometimes I do get lucky and love the entire piece. In any case, this goal should be easy. However, I often forget to do this. I focus so much on refining my technique and picking the whole thing apart so I can make progress that I forget to enjoy what I’m playing. I will spend time each day playing my pieces as a sort of private concert for myself. Even if I play badly, the songs themselves are beautiful.
I don’t have any others at the moment. If I eventually make more, I want them to be purely process oriented like these two. I would, however, like to make this as a year two goal: to be less neurotic and more joyful as I learn to play the cello.