I'm starting a new blog category called "Goals."

I've been thinking about how my music/guitar goals have changed since I started playing, especially in the last year. I intend to use this category to document such changes, so I'll start by looking at what I was thinking last July when I put my life on hold to practice for a year.

At the time, all I wanted was to get started in a career in music. I wanted to focus on doing whatever it would take to get my foot in the door and start making a living with my guitar. Then I could start thinking about what I wanted to do in the long run, a creative direction for my career. Well, that couldn't wait. Unemployment allows for plenty of time to think, and this is as interesting a topic as any. It turns out that the confidence that I'll do something unique complements the discipline required to learn everything else. All the reasons to quit become exciting challenges (not that I ever considered quitting). It makes the intolerable tolerable.

So I thought a good target was to gain all the skills necessary to be a session guitarist: sight reading, playing by ear, facility in many genres, great technique, etc. Then I could apply those skills any way I choose. Given my shitty sight reading, I made that a top priority. I knew ear training was just as important. I was probably better than the average amateur guitarist, but certainly not pro level, and that's what I wanted. These are still my top two priorities, but I'm not satisfied with my efforts in these areas. I'm supposed to be doing an hour a day of each, and I haven't stuck to that.

I have a handful of books I wanted to work through, mostly jazz-related. Ted Greene's Jazz Guitar Single-Note Soloing was at the top of the list. I've made some progress, but it's been slow. That book gives me tendonitis if I'm not careful.

I knew I should learn as many songs as possible, applying whatever theory and techniques I learn. I wanted to choose a different seminal guitarist each week and learn whatever I could. Never did that. I'm not disappointed either. A good way to sound unique is to spend less time trying to play like everyone else. I made one exception for SRV. I wanted to learn every one of his recordings note for note, and I might succeed. Aside from SRV, I shifted the song-learning focus to jazz standards. Haven't given that up, but I could be more diligent.

I wanted some facility on all sorts of similar stringed instruments: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, 12-string, electric bass, banjo, mandolin. I have a Fender P-Bass, and I've done some minimal plunking around with it. That's all the progress I've made in this area. Still don't even own an acoustic. Working on that.

Hmm, that's a little depressing, looking at all the stuff I haven't done in 7 months. But I knew I had lofty goals, and I'm saving my new goals and other progress I've made for a different post. Now, if I could get to bed before fucking 1am...