Recently I have been focused on a new process for goal-setting and achieving, which features and emphasizes my values. I'm not talking generally speaking but rather intentional, consistent effort toward my top five values. Each evening, I set up the next day's "MIT" (most important thing's) around my core values. From there, I rewrite my top 10 goals, stemming from my values. Then, it becomes a consistent process of reviewing and working step-by-step toward my goals, with my values at the forefront. It makes me feel grounded. Congruent.
What exactly does this do, you ask? It keeps me honest with myself. It funnels all of my efforts toward specific objectives because I have clear goals and tactics to achieve those goals. It makes me really think about what I want and where these ideas are coming from, rather than simply constructing a list and then hammering away at it. It gives my day a greater sense of purpose, and the year/quarters/everything together. It also keeps me grounded and working consistently each day toward the things I say are important to me.
When it comes to teaching, my values stem from enjoying the process of learning and becoming good at something. This means I am always thinking about ways to have stronger communication with each of my students. I am always thinking of ways to make their musical journey richer. It makes teaching far more of an art than a science! Staying on top of their interests, their learning styles, their repertoire lists, etc...it's a lot of moving parts, and definitely more involved than simply following a standard curriculum or an exam course. There is true value to those things, but it's only part of the equation. Some boxes need to be checked, and other boxes need to be created, or simply just create ideas and experience outside of the box.
In my first week back after the first of the year, I was encouraged. I was encouraged because my students genuinely seemed glad to be back to lessons and "back to work." They were excited to take on new musical projects that are creative and open-ended as well as the more traditional work we musicians do. We all have a fresh start for a new semester complete with repertoire goals, performances on the horizon and a renewed sense of purpose.