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New Year’s Resolutions can be tough for young people. Even musicians feel the urge to make promises and set goals for the coming year. Sadly, four out of five of these resolutions fail by February. Should young musicians feel the need to make such goals? We certainly believe setting goals is necessary for success, but there are better ways of doing so than by viewing January 1st as some magical day of atonement. If you’ve been freaking out over your New Year’s resolution (or if you’ve already failed to live up to it), we have a few reasons why you should relax.
You Will Probably Aim Too High
Young musicians, and young people in general, will probably aim too high with their New Year’s resolutions. This is not to be dismissive or condescending about our more youthful music lovers, but sometimes young people don’t have the years of experience to realize when a goal is too big or when they have set themselves up for failure with too many competing resolutions. Instead of trying to learn a new language, play X number of shows, record an album, and travel the world, make the informed decision of choosing one or two resolutions you have a prayer at finishing. The difference between setting a goal and making a resolution is essentially just that you are putting on added stress with the latter.
Imperfection is Part of the Process
Perfection is overrated. Sure, it would make life easier and get you all the stuff you could ever hope for, but you simply will never be perfect. This is a good lesson for young musicians to learn. Not only will it keep them humble, but always hungry as well. Even the best make mistakes from time to time. If you are young and/or a beginner, get ready to make just about every mistake there is. Learning from these is what builds you into a better musician and a well-rounded person. Stressing over New Year’s resolutions isn’t worth the heartache. Be disciplined, but don’t let a small failure send it all crashing down. Imperfections remind us we can always improve.
Young Musicians Don’t Need the Stress
Speaking of stress, young musicians have enough on their plates. Between school, work, hobbies, dating life, and a dozen other potential commitments, music is probably one place where you need to chill. There are plenty of reasons for young people to be stressed, so don’t add to that growing list. When we set unrealistic expectations, we are setting ourselves up for long, sleep-deprived nights where we try to figure out where it all went wrong. Even if you are someone who thrives under pressure, be mindful of how much is on your plate. We need you to be healthy and stick around so we can hear your music one day.
There’s Always Next Year
Young musicians have one obvious advantage over their older counterparts: more time. When you’re 19 years old, there aren’t too many New Year’s resolutions that are wildly important. Even if it’s a good resolution, you (hopefully) have 60 years to still get it done. This is not a defense of laziness or procrastination, but not every achievement has to be made in this very moment. Did you make a New Year’s resolution for 2019 which has already tanked? That’s okay, there’s always next year. Better yet, you can pick the task back up today and continue on. Your journey doesn’t have to wait for January 1st to roll around each year.
The Work You Do Today Matters
Anyone who is worth listening to will tell you it’s the daily grind which makes you better at what you do. No one sold out an arena tour because they crossed off their New Year’s resolution when they were 17. For every major achievement enjoyed by today’s biggest artists, you better believe there were thousands of hours of hard work poured into each one. Pursuing your dreams isn’t about perfectly completing some arbitrary task you picked out on New Year’s Eve. It’s about developing discipline and finding a routine that works for you. No matter what instrument you play or how old you are, that’s the key to improvement.
Discipline is a Strength, Not a Prison
Discipline is better than resolutions because one is a strength while the latter can make you feel like a prisoner. Ask anyone who has been on an intense diet due to a resolution. They may be seeing some results on their waistlines, but we’re willing to bet that most wish they had never started down that road. We want you to be responsible young musicians, but not in some way that leads to bitterness and anger. When you instill discipline through your own self-will, it feels so much healthier than when it’s being forced on you by opposing forces. Maybe the boot camp model works for the army, but practicing with your instrument and studying to be a better musician shouldn’t be quite so confrontational.
Start Small and Keep at It
The main reason why we believe young musicians shouldn’t get so caught up in New Year’s resolutions is because there is a better path to take. Instead of making an outlandish goal for the year, we encourage you to think of several attainable goals for the next six months to two years. These can be anything from learning to play your favorite song to finding fellow musicians you can play with on a regular basis. No matter what skill level you are at now, we know there are steps you can take toward becoming a better musician. Think of what these steps are and make those your goals to achieve. As you progress each day, continue to grow discipline and stick with your studies so that you never fall behind.
There’s nothing wrong with New Year’s resolutions, even for young musicians like those at Camp Electric. When these goals become a weight upon your shoulders, however, it’s time to evaluate just how helpful they really are. At Camp Electric, we bring together young musicians who want to learn from today’s top Christian artists for a week unlike any other. Find out how you can become our next student by clicking on the link below.