With a New Year on its way, December is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and muse on what we have accomplished, how we have changed and make plans for how to use our new year to get closer to where and who we want to be. 

But whilst we may have grand plans for our professional or personal futures, it can be difficult to think of resolutions to set that concern our instrument. 

Here are five ideas to get you started!

1. Take better care of your instrument

No matter your current regime, there is always a way to optimise and improve the care taking of your instrument. 

Whether it be learning how to properly clean your fretboard, making a resolution to actually change your strings every three weeks or finally investing in a room humidifier to avoid cracks in the wood of your guitar, setting these habits at the beginning of the year can help avoid disaster and unnecessary financial investment and help you engage in the ritual of taking care of your instrument. 

After all, if you take care of your instrument it will take care of you! 

What better day to start a-fresh with a polished instrument, grime-less frets, new strings and smooth nails than January 1st.

2. Optimise your practice

An easily completable task during this last tired push towards the end of the year is to track your current work habits for a few weeks with view to reform. 

Try not to judge your current practices, but simply to make note of them for review right before the beginning of the new year. 

Make sure to note down how these work sessions make you feel, how much time you are spending with the instrument per day, what you are hoping to work on and pretty much anything instrument related that feels important. 

At the end of the month, review the notes you have made to search for patterns in your work that could be changed for the better. Remember that small changes are the most maintainable and that tiny increments sustained over a long period of time are the key to making huge improvements.

3. Start an online presence

The best time to start promoting your work online is now! 

The world needs what you have to offer, so get savvy about how you want to share your musical journey and bite back the fear of critique, the benefits of sharing far outweigh the risk of being judged. Read some tips and tricks here from Evan Taucher.

4. Focus on your relationship with your instrument 

An often overlooked but vital part of playing an instrument is that of the nature of your relationship with creativity and with your creative work. 

So many of us are living in a state of self-inflicted pressure, judgment and worry around our creative output when we could be enjoying the process of working. 

Whether it is because of the echoing critical words of a previous teacher, the pressure ingrained into us from our parents when we were young or the societal stress on having everything in our lives organised and moving along in one direction, this year it is worth repairing, creating or improving the relationship we have with our own creative process so that we can ultimately enjoy what we do a lot more.

5. Reach out for collaboration

The world is full of amazing creative people and the technology available to us in the 21st century means that most of them are only a message away! 

Our fear of failure or our anxiety to impress can often hold us back from reaching out to people to collaborate on our ideas, so this new year is a great time to work out what it is that holds us back from building a creative network that could get us to where we want to be or to inspire us to start looking.

Conclusion

From all of us at Tonebase we wish you the happiest New Year. 

Here’s to another happy, healthy and successful year ahead of us!

Did you learn something new?

Feel free to click this link to check out our in-depth courses on classical guitar, taught by artists including Grammy winning guitarists and professors from schools such as Juilliard, Eastman, and more.

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Happy playing!

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Dave McLellan

Concert & Chamber Guitarist

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