It’s March and you all know what that means, right? Yes, yes! Spring is around the corner and with it the prospect of jamming outside with friends and family. Now is the time to get your setlist up to date, and give your skills a boost. This blog is all about creating routines that stick, so that you can reach the musical goals you set for yourself.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Make More Music March  

This whole month we are focussing on getting you motivated to play more. Why? For starters, it’s relaxing. Various studies have shown that engaging with musical activities like singing, or playing an instrument enhances brain functions. It also reduces stress and anxiety. Besides that, it’s always nice to see your friends’ faces light up when you start cranking out some cool tunes.

Since we’ve all had a few rough years behind us, it’s good to look ahead and get our creative juices flowing. While we’re doing that we’re keeping one thing in mind: it has to be fun! That’s why we’ve made a list of how you can set cool jamming goals for yourself, and keep it joyful and relaxing. 

Creating routines that stick

How do you create routines that stick? That’s the big question, isn’t it? And it’s not an easy one to answer, because there are so many different ways to do so. In the end, it’s all about getting the result you aspire to achieve in a natural, smooth way. 

In our post on motivation versus routines we discussed the durability of getting excited about doing something (motivation), compared to getting used to doing that same thing (routine). Here’s a little spoiler alert: routine gets you where you want to be more often than motivation. 

routines for easy songs

Objectives & Key Results

When we dive into the world of corporate business there’s a thing called Objectives & Key Results, better known as OKR. Yeah, we know what you’re thinking right now. Doesn’t sound very fun, does it? But trust us, this is not a corporate job, this is one of the ways to Jam City. 

OKRs come from a world of high achievers, and that’s because they work in a very smooth way. If you set them correctly that is. This is how it works: Just start with the end in mind, and get a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. Is it being able to play a few of your favorite Ed Sheeran tracks? Or learning to jam different chords so that you can write your own songs?  

Why set a goal?

Whatever it is, just ask yourself why you want it. To impress someone? To become the next Bon Iver? Or is it just because playing an instrument sparks you joy and you want to make it part of your daily routine? The “why” is important, because if it is something genuine and authentic, the goal you set will feel like liberation and not like an obligation. 

Maybe you’ve heard the saying: “If you do what you love, you won’t work a day in your life.” Well, that’s kind of what we’re aiming for here, only with jamming. Let’s be honest, playing along with your favorite tunes is always awesome.

How to make your goals achievable

Once you know why you’re setting a goal you can aim for the stars. Right? Yes and no. Your dream should inspire you, and that can happen when it’s concrete, and action oriented. It’s good to set audacious goals, but they have to be achievable too. Otherwise you will end up in a negative spiral.

But what if we tell you that you can have your cake and eat it too? Set a big audacious goal and break it down into smaller goals. These should be specific and time bound. Furthermore the smaller objectives should be aggressive yet realistic, and above all measurable and verifiable. Do this, and you’ll end up with a list of OKRs.

setting goals
Credits: Ronald Zijlstra

How to setup your list of OKRs

Your head is probably already spinning with all this corporate mumbo jumbo. Yeah, we know it all sounds pretty abstract. So let’s make it more tangible, shall we? Here’s a scenario: Jane wants to spark joy to her environment by treating everyone to some epic tunes during the summer fair. There’s only one challenge. She’s just picked up the ukulele and knows only some basic chords. How can Jane reach her audacious goal? 

Well, she clearly has a big audacious goal — playing at the summer fair. What’s the first step she can take to get closer to that objective? For starters she’ll have to decide how long her concert should be. Let’s say she settles on ten songs. After that she needs to think about whether she’s going to play covers or own material. 

To keep it easy we know that Jane definitely will play covers. So she has to make a list of ten songs that will spark joy to her environment. Because she knows only some basic chords her setlist should contain some easy to play tracks. Once the setlist is finished Jane is ready to establish a routine. She decides to keep it simple and practice at least one song a day. 

Create a checklist

Her list of OKRs will probably look like this:

  • Monday: Decide on the amount of songs.
  • Tuesday: Create a list of a lot of songs that spark me joy.
  • Rest of the week: Find out which of these songs are easy to learn using Chordify.
  • Start playing one song a day.

Get specific

As you can see the list is pretty specific, time bound, aggressive yet realistic, and of course pretty measurable and verifiable. She can check it off, which gives her an overview of her progress. Once she’s arrived at the last checkpoint, she can decide to make that even more specific.

It can even get more specific if she likes.

  • Monday: Investigate chords for “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
  • Tuesday: Practice verse part of “Sweet Home Alabama”.
  • Wednesday: Rehearse the chorus of “Sweet Home Alabama”.
  • Thursday: Play the whole song at least once.

Final thoughts

As you can see, creating your own list of Objectives & Key Results isn’t that difficult. It is, as a matter of fact, pretty easy. That’s why this approach has been adopted by so many big companies like Google and Apple. It creates an overview of the things you should do to achieve what you want, while giving you insights in your progress. 

If you stick to your OKRs you’ll develop a routine that will stick with you beyond your music sessions. If it works for big tech companies, it might work for you too. Use this tool as you wish, and thank us later. Enjoy, and as always happy jamming!

What did you think of this article?👍 👎You already voted!