Establishing an End Goal

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”

Bill Copeland

I have started to realize this week that I need an end goal to work towards by the end of this semester with regard to my learning process with the clarinet. I feel I have experienced some highs and lows in my journey, but I know this is expected and is part of the whole process. However, what is it that I’m trying to work towards exactly? Matteo has me thinking based on his comment on last week’s post, “I had a few adult students, and I found that they really learned things sort of differently (lol, to be honest, they were slower learners compared to most kids)”. Learn differently and slower learners is what really popped out at me (no offense taken). So based on that, here is what I’ve concluded that I would like to be able to do by the end of this term:

Ultimate Goal
Be able to play at least 5 different songs using my labeled sheet music that incorporates only the notes A-F (notes played with the left hand only).

Steps to Achieve Ultimate Goal
1. Be able to fluently label notes A-F on sheet music.
2. Be able to efficiently identify and play quarter notes, half notes, and whole notes in a 4/4 time signature
3. Be able to “master” my embouchure, articulation, and breathing.

I’m sure this may seem very basic for most people, but I feel that with my short time limit, these goals are realistic for me. I’ve come to realize that labeling notes is drastically different than being able to identify and play them at the same time. As I practiced (without labeling), I found that I was able to catch on to a song quicker by listening to the notes and tune rather than reading them as I learned. By taking out the step of reading notes and having them labeled, I was able to focus more on keeping the beat, especially with the incorporation of half notes, whole notes, and rests. Essentially, listening to a book over and over again is easier for me to learn and remember than reading individual words. I feel like I am a hypocrite in my own profession.

Insult Hypocrite GIF
Retrieved from Giphy

Moving on, here is a sample (Countdown) of my progress this week.

I sent this sample to my niece, my new teacher, to get her help with a few things I was having frustration with.

Please disregard our inconsistent use of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization throughout our conversation.

I know her advice on spending more time on learning theory is important, but time is of the essence and theory has to take a back seat to my goals listed above. So, I was able to find a pdf version of a Standard of Excellence Book, for which I printed off some pages and have been using to label notes on.

I’ve noticed that I’ve gone away from my course that I was very excited about. I think this is because it went way to fast for me and didn’t allow me enough time to practice the introductory notes like the Measures of Success book has that my daughter uses. Although it was exciting to think that I could go from beginner to pro in 5 hours, I only made it through three sections out of the ten offered before I became overwhelmed. I also don’t have the time to dedicate to this course as I feel you need to be following it regularly.

All in all, I feel better knowing I have an end goal and feel good about getting there!

4 thoughts on “Establishing an End Goal

  1. I like that you re-evaluated your goals/plan, especially with using Udemy. I had to do the same thing- really lower my expectations and focus on quality success. I enjoyed how this post was organized, as well as the content- especially adding in the correspondence with your niece! As a side note- RPS teachers have access to the paid version of WeVideo. If you’re interested I can send you the link to register!


  2. Keep up the good work! I think the beauty in this learning project is that you have the freedom to re-organize your goals at any point as well as your actions on how to get there. At the beginning of the semester it often seems like a long time to work on a project but many people tend to revamp the process to create more realistic expectations for themselves and that’s totally okay!


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