Mini-resolutions: 30 day challenges

Around the New Year I came across this Ted Talk suggesting that instead of grandiose New Year’s resolutions (which tend not to last more than a month or so anyway), perhaps we could think of smaller experimental episodes in our lives: 30 day commitments. (It turns out, there was a reality TV show based on this same concept about ten years ago: 30 Days. No good idea is ever completely original, right?) Back in November I tried the National Blog Posting Month challenge, and I think I wrote something here on all but 2 days of the month. Clearly my writing has dropped off since then, but I have a distinct memory of what it was like to plan on writing ever single day, and know what I’m getting into if I want to keep that commitment longer.

I’m exited thinking about 12 distinct possible challenges in 2015 – and I don’t have to think them all up on January 1!  I’ve often found that if I’m not growing or learning something new or pushing myself in some way, I feel stagnant. I’m curious to see what ends up “sticking” as a lifestyle change, and what is simply an interesting experiment that doesn’t need repeating.

So what shall I do for my first challenge? I’ve been a bit frustrated with my music lately – I seem to have a lot of pieces that are about 80% learned, but I’m not putting in consistent enough practice to actually get any to the point of polished performance. So for January I’m going to try a dual commitment: 1) practice the guitar every single day, even if only for 10 minutes, and 2) learn and polish two Bach preludes (BWV 998 and 999). The first prelude is part 1 of a 3 part suite (followed by a  fugue and allegro). The fugue is just not my cup of tea (it’s feels like an interesting composition exercise, but goes on for far too long), but I’d like to eventually tackle the allegro to play as well. First things first.  BWV 999 is a popular stand-alone prelude that’s also good right hand appregio practice.

Maybe this is all the 30 day challenges will entail: clean up a piece of two to the point where it’s memorized or approaching performance-ready, and by the end of the year I’ll actually have a set list for an open mic. 🙂


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