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The Most Powerful Tool in The World
Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete
reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false
promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians
so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.
The Most Powerful Tool in The World
- The Goal and the Plan
By Chris Punis
Ok, once the hair on the back of your neck has gone down we can get started with the planning process.
I don’t know what it is about “planning” that gets so many of us creative types squirming in our seats.
I’ve had monumental arguments with fellow bandmates over planning and I’ve even had bands break up
because of it. Musicians seem to think that goals and plans are anti-creative or anti-artistic. That
couldn’t be further from the truth. Goals and plans serve to focus our energy and focus our creativity.
They actually help us produce more and better art. If you only absorb one concept from this set of 21
let it be this: “Set Goals, Make Plans to Achieve Them, and Work on Your Plans Everyday.” Nothing else
can mobilize you and move you forward faster than a good plan and a little discipline. Now let’s talk
about how to make a plan.. If you’re new at this, start small. You don’t have to
reinvent jazz with you first goal. Pick something that you know you can achieve. Something challenging
but doable. If you don’t believe that you can achieve it, you will not. Make sure that it is measurable,
that you will be able tell when you have completed it. Make it detailed and specific. For instance,
don’t say “I want to become better at playing in all twelve keys.” Instead, decide to memorize the
melody to the song “I Got Rhythm” in all twelve keys and be able to perform it at 160 BPM in any key from memory.
1 Decide Exactly What You Want. Pick a goal
2 Write It Down in Vivid Detail. Write it down on paper. With as much detail as possible. What
exactly will you be able to do when your goal is accomplished? How will you know when you’ve
accomplished your goal? How will you measure it? The more clearly defined your goal is, the
greater the likelihood of achieving it. Physically writing it down on paper can not be over
-emphasized. Write and re-write your goals daily. This will keep your mind focused and your
“eyes on the target.”
3 Give Your Goal a Deadline Without a deadline a goal is simply a wish. Decide when you will
achieve your goal. On what date will you be able to perform “I Got Rhythm” in all twelve keys
from memory? If you find that you are not going to hit your deadline, simply create a new one.
Not to say that deadlines should be changed on a whim. You should always strive to hit your
goals on time, but there will be occasions when you will have to modify your plan. As you
practice this method you will get better and better at estimating how long a goal will take
4 Make a List Write down everything you can think of that you will have to do to achieve this goal.
List every single step. Break your goal down into tiny bite-size pieces that you can complete in
one practice session. As you think of more steps, add them to your list. This is how you accomplish
a big goal. You have to break it down into the actual steps that you will complete in your daily
5 Put Your List in Order Now turn your list into an actual plan.
Put every step in order. What
will you have to do first? Second? And so on. This will now serve as your blueprint. This
blueprint will move you forward fast. With out a blueprint you are at the mercy of luck and
chance. You are simply meandering around aimlessly. It’s kind of like firing a bow and arrow
with a blindfold on. It’s worse actually. It’s like firing a bow and arrow with a blindfold
on and no target. You could hit anything, but chances are you will hit nothing. With a plan,
it’s as if you have a target in front of you, there’s plenty of light and your blindfold is
gone. You can work until you hit the target, and then move on to the next one.
6 Take Action Go practice. Get busy. Work on your plan. Action is the key to success. Without
action you cannot accomplish anything. With action you will accomplish great things. Even if
your plan is flawed you can accomplish a lot, simply by taking action. Action, Action and more
7 Practice and Work on Your Plan Everyday Develop the habit and discipline of practicing and
working on your plan every single day. Even if you only have twenty minutes to practice, do
it. Learn something or take a tiny, tiny step forward. You will be amazed by how much you
can learn and how fast your music can progress by utilizing this formula. This is the most
powerful tool to help you progress on your musical journey and become a monster jazz musician.
Chris Punis is an active jazz musician in the northeast. He is founding member of the
critically acclaimed group Gypsy Schaeffer and a member of renowned saxophonist Charlie
Kohlhase’s group The Explorer’s Club. Chris is also an accomplished jazz educator. For
more information about his teaching methods, visit http://www.learnjazzfaster.com
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