Starting with the end in mind

The concept of starting with the end in mind can be applied to a range of aspects of our playing, learning and practice. Equally, thinking in this way can bring massive benefits to all of those aspects.

Why is the end in mind so important?

Well, the simple answer to that is we’ve got to know where we’re ultimately going to be able to (a) head in the right direction and (b) know when we’ve got a particular destination, acquired something that we wanted to have, be something that we wanted to be, or do something we wanted to do!

It also lets us kick back (metaphorically speaking, of course – we’ve still got to do the work!) and enjoy the journey more knowing that we’re headed in the right direction with the intention of reaching our goal. We know what we want to achieve, devise a strategy for getting there, revise the strategy or change course slightly on the way if it’s not working, and set sail!

Being mindful and taking 5 minutes out just to think perhaps “OK, what am I going to have acquired have the end of my practice session today?” can reap massive dividends with your learning. This tool is useful for any player or learner, but particularly so for the time-poor learner. It’s about making your practice session as effective as possible.

You can also break that idea down into the elements of your practice itself.

Have a think on these…

  • What are you doing with your scales and exercises? What are they serving in your repertoire or pieces? What are they helping you improve in a technical weakness? What are they helping you maintain? What are they helping you to learn for the first time? What do you want to have achieved by working on a particular scale or technical exercise?
  • What’s happening with your pieces? How do you want them to sound overall? How do you want the separate sections and phrases to sound? Where are the challenging spots and how do you want these to sound?
  • Lessons – what do you want to achieve from these? Is there something you’re working towards? What would you like to achieve in your next lesson?
  • And of course performances. Let’s not forget those. What do you want your next performance to be like? Who’s your audience? What’s their reaction? The venue? See yourself 30 seconds after the performance receiving rapturous applause!! What are you doing and feeling 1 minute after the performance? After 10 minutes? 30 minutes? 1 hour?

Hmmmm? Interesting eh? Give it a red hot go!

I’m going to leave you today with a favourite quote of mine for your to ponder on: A goal without a plan is just a wish. Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French writer (1900 – 1944)

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