What happens when you set a “solid” music goal

Grace Lam Piano

Armed with new sheet music, I told myself I’d learn jazz everyday up until Christmas.

I sat down to film my progress, good or cringe-worthy, and worked at it for an hour or two everyday—jazz is a whole new ballgame if you’re a classical musician.

I know that we’ve talked about not having goals because that highlights all the things we don’t have… but I’m convinced that setting a solid goal will serve you really, really well.

A solid goal is simple enough that you can name the outcome in one sentence and there are checkboxes for the achievement. It’s small enough to break down for something you can do everyday—it only takes 66 days to create a habit and consistency wins!

Instead of “I want to be a better jazz pianist,” it could be:

“I want to learn to play jazz piano music so that I can swing and groove with the beat.”

All I needed to do was play piano everyday and learn jazz this winter.

Here is a collection of me playing piano. I’m really happy about some of these, and I hope you are too!

The First Noel

It’s challenging to improvise in public, where you’re actively disturbing Sunday morning coffee drinkers. A lot of this piece is improvised, so let me know what you think!

Thank you to Monika Szucs for filming and editing the video!

Joy to The World

This arrangement is so smooth and beautiful, and I love the flowing notes so that the melody is in both hands. It’s written by James Koerts.

White Christmas

This is where I learned more about jazz voicing. I’ve been talking about jazz a lot, and this is a simple piece where some of this is demonstrated… drop 2 voicing, pedal tones…

Please excuse the video quality as it was at night… your girl doesn’t have a lighting kit at home!

Sugar Plum Fairy

This arrangement of Sugar Plum Fairy took me a long time to put together (based on an existing one I found).

I played and filmed 3 parts of the Sugar Plum Fairy by myself. It took some work to sync up the different parts, and I eventually had to redo some parts entirely

I used the acoustic piano, digital piano, and glockenspiel / bell. I wanted to try something new… and it was a whole lot of fun!

Baby It’s Cold Outside

A laid-back swing of the jazzy arrangement by Craig Curry! It took me a few tries to get the swing right. Did I get it?

Here is the sheet music.

It seems that once the holidays roll around, I revert to terrible sleeping habits. I’ve moved the digital piano to my room so that if the urge ever hits me to compose instead of looking at the bright screen of my phone, I could do it.

Maybe I’ll end up composing great music in my sleepless stupor and you’ll see it here soon.

In any case, I’m now more comfortable with playing jazz.

Even though I am no longer a piano student, I love to learn and try new things.

Next year, I want to give myself a new music goal every 3 months, and document the results on the blog, to show you the ghastly, not-so-fun side.

As the holidays roll around, don’t forget to set aside some time for yourself to play an instrument, or to simply breathe and think about your goals for the next little stretch of time called 2019.

Give yourself a solid goal as a new year’s present.

Have a wonderful, amazing Christmas and holiday season with your loved ones. You are in my thoughts, and there is enough love to go around for everyone!

Grace

P.S. I’m just starting to make videos, but how do you like them? As my sister says, everyone has to start somewhere!

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