Goal-setting for singers

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How to dream big and make a plan that gets you to your goals

“Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” –Gloria Steinem

The entire trajectory of an artist begins with the dream—so dream big!

Our dreams set the bar for our goals, direct our choices, and fuel our actions.

Small dreams are comfortable because they give us permission to settle for what’s easy and within reach.

On the other hand, big dreams are scary because they require boldness and hard work, and they come with no guarantees. But if we can’t be brave enough to go big even in our dreams, how can we expect to go big in real life?

Decide what you want, or else it will be decided for you.

Do you know what you want for yourself as an artist?

Maybe you want to tour the world as a solo performer, or make music in the background as a songwriter or producer. Maybe you want to perform on a Broadway stage, or do voice-overs for movies.

You might not know exactly what you want yet, or maybe what you thought you wanted has evolved or changed over time. Regardless, it’s important to stay tuned in to your own vision for your life so that you can live your own journey and grow in the direction of your own dreams.

Stephen Covey writes, “If you don’t make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default.”

So live your own best life and start by asking yourself, What do I want?

“Define your expectations—on the outset of every single project, record, tour.” –John Mayer

In 2008, John Mayer gave a presentation to students at Berklee College of Music, and he gave out some invaluable advice on the importance of defining expectations:

“The number one thing you have to do before you set out on any other goal or any other course is to define your expectations—on the outset of every single project, record, tour. Everyone in this room wants to make it, but I question how you would recognize making it. What is making it? What do you want to be?”

Expectations and goals direct the choices we make and the actions we take.

Defined expectations also help us figure out whether we’ve made any progress, or if it’s time to raise the bar and push further.

So whether you’re auditioning for your next role or just getting started with your first original song, ask yourself: What are my expectations?

What you want to do someday determines what you need to do right now.

The toughest thing about tackling big goals is figuring out where to start.

Here’s a little bit of imagery: Skyscrapers are built from the bottom up, level by level, from the foundation to the roof.

It’s the same way with big goals. We achieve them by working through smaller goals, one level at a time.

In his book, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller outlines a process for setting goals that begins with the “Someday Goal” and then filters down to the ONE goal for today. He calls it “Goal Setting to the Now.”

“By thinking through the filter of Goal Setting to the Now, you set a future goal and then methodically drill down to what you should be doing right now. . . . It’s how a small thing can actually build up to a big one.”

Based on your big end goal, what are your goals for the next five years? One year? One month? Today?

The best time to plant a tree was 50 years ago. The second best time is now.

We challenge you to pull out a piece of paper right now and brainstorm your singing goals!

Dream big, decide what you want, define your expectations, and determine what the one thing is that you can do right now.

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Photo of Renee Maranan
Renee’s mission as a vocal instructor is to empower the singer to perform with ease, versatility, and control, while maintaining a healthy voice.

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