The Importance of Setting Goals for Musicians

In any business, it is vital to set goals if you want to achieve more, but setting goals for musicians is especially as important. Without setting goals, it’s hard to give your ideas the work they need and deserve to get you progressing in the industry. Goals make you work for what you want. 

So, here’s why setting goals is so important for a musician’s success and how to set them.

Defining What You Want

Goals help you define what, exactly, you want out of your music and how you’re going to get there. When someone asks what you want, it’s easy to say something like, “Oh, I want to be a successful musician,” or “I want my music to be known,”. This is far too broad and must be avoided.

Goals help you zero in on what, specifically, is most important to you about success. Is it the fans? Notoriety? Money? Setting goals help you figure this out. Instead of saying, “I want to be successful,” talk about what you want from this success and write goals relating to that. For example, if it’s important for you to be successful enough to make a decent amount of money from your music, set a goal related to that. This could be something like, “Have ten copies of my album purchased by next week.” That gives you a concrete step towards what you want that is attainable. If you just said, “I want to make money from my music,” you’d have no direction to start with.

Setting goals to define what you want out of your music is even more important if you’re working in a team or are part of a band. Goals will put everyone on the same page.

“Starting a conversation about setting goals is important because it can help your band decide what it is you want and where you want to go. These goals don’t have to be big. If you’re just starting out, the goals your band sets for itself should be small: book a weekend tour, release three songs this summer, bring 30 people out to a show, etc” – Reverbnation

Goals Keep You Motivated

No matter how much you love music, everyone feels unmotivated sometimes. Ask any musician. No matter how successful they are, they’ve had times where they haven’t felt motivated to play their music and that can be frustrating. The worst feeling is when you want to play and create music, but you don’t know how to find the motivation to do so. That’s where goal setting comes in.

Wanting to be successful is so broad. If that’s your only goal, then it’s easy to understand why you’re feeling unmotivated. A broad goal like that gives you nothing concrete to sink your teeth into, nothing to feel the joy of achievement along the way. To motivate yourself, you need to set smaller goals as the stepping stones to success.

How to Set Them

Now you know why setting goals for musicians is important, but how do you do that? What makes a good goal? That’s where SMART goals come in.

What is a SMART goal? 

SMART is an acronym. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Now, what do each of those mean regarding goals?

Specific: Each of your goals need to be specific. Achievable goals have details. Rather than setting goals such as “For more people to listen to your music,” set a goal. Something like, “To get 1000 more streams on my latest single by the end of the month.”

Measurable: Measurable goes hand-in-hand with specific. You have to decide on the measurement of success for that goal. Without a specific number, date, etc there is no way to know when you’ve achieved that goal. If your goal was, “To get more people to buy my album,” how do you know when you’ve achieved that? You don’t. If you said, “For 10 people to buy my album by next week,” you have a clear direction and ending.

Attainable: It’s important to dream big, but also to make sure your goals are attainable. Your dream can be big and crazy, but you need to have attainable goals to get you there. If you only have 10 followers on Spotify, saying that you want 1000 more by next week is not a good goal. It’s not attainable and will just make you feel less motivated because you know you won’t achieve it anyway. Instead, aim for something smaller, then progressively get bigger as your fan base grows.

Relevant: Your goals need to be relevant to what you want from your music. You need to know what you want and set goals that will get you there, not ones that will get you something else. If gaining followers online is important to you, set goals related to your social media.

Timely: “Your goals need to have a time limit. It’s easier to stay on track when you have set times to get things done by with checkpoints along the way.” – Hypebot

Goal setting is vital in any career, but especially one that involves as much uncertainty and hard work as music. What goals have you set for yourself this year? Let us know!

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