When I decided I was going to become a professional guitarist, I drew up a list of goals for the first 10 years. My overall goal was to become an "entry level" professional. To me, this meant attaining a skill level that was high enough that I could do a good job at gigs. It also meant that, while I wouldn't necessarily be the first call player in Atlanta, I would develop enough connections to keep me gigging on a fairly regular basis.
I'm rarely satisfied with my playing, but I would like to pause for a moment and be grateful that I met my 10 year goal. I'm not a world beater on guitar, but I'm pretty good. I sight-read extremely well. I gig steadily.
Okay, the moment is over, and it's time to look at the next 10 years. This is my overall goal: To become a well established freelance musician making a comfortable living as a performer, teacher, and church musician.
That's a pretty broad goal. Maybe it's more of a mission statement, but it can be broken down into several goals. To be a well established performer implies an increasingly higher level of musicianship, so the most important goals to me are in the area of musical development.
These are my goals for 2024:
- Play an average of 2-3 good paying gigs per week.
- Maintain a roster of 30 students.
- Increase the NWUUC Music Director job to 20 hours per week.
- Memorize 100+ jazz standards.
- Comfortably improvise guitar solos in the style of Joe Pass.
- Become a good scat singer.
- Become a competent piano player.
- Become a competent ukulele player.
- Be financially stable enough to take 1-2 yearly vacations.
- Live in a rented house, big enough for a studio space, in a quiet, safe neighborhood.
- Comfortably maintain a healthy weight of 190-200 pounds.
Having all these goals without devising a way to meet them is no good. I've broken each of these goals down into separate steps, but I won't include them here, otherwise, this would be a really, really long article. I'll break down a few choice goals into steps in future articles.
Getting this far was a blast. It was 10 years well spent. Time to get busy and make the next 10 years even better.