We’re back to teaching this week – can’t believe how quickly time flies during the holiday breaks! My family spent time with both sides of our extended family and enjoyed a short trip into the mountains too. I even learned to ski! I know, I grew up in the snow so I should know how but I’m still working on it… it’s my goal for January to go a few more times. Lots of falling down for me as I learn to balance and turn, but it’s so beautiful up there and makes the mountains even more enjoyable in the winter!

So hopefully y’all had a wonderful holiday break too. Hopefully you had plenty of delicious food and way too many treats 😉 I know I did. Thus I began the year with a goal to not eat any sugar for 30 days… let’s just say it’s hard right now but I can do it!

So on the topic of goals, what goals did you set? I’ve loved seeing my friends and blogs I follow talk about their goals for this year. Last year I went with the One Word goal or theme idea and loved it. My word for 2017 was “Simplify” so I worked to be present more at home and focus on my family. Also to focus on myself – I’ve worked to develop a few new talents and enjoy some quiet time away from screens and social media.

This year I’ve chosen the word “Believe”. I’m using this word in so many ways! Believe that there is much good ahead as we head into a year of change and believe that things will work out. I’m looking for the everyday good in life more. I’m trying to believe more in my piano students and help them believe in themselves. And to uplift friends and colleagues, to help us all inspire each other and believe in the good we do as piano teachers!

This week, I like to take a step back with my students and find out what goals they want to reach in piano and music. It’s nice to look at the big picture of the year before we get busy with the details. With all students, I love to look at what repertoire they’ve studied and what preparation still needs to be done to reach more advanced levels. With some students, there are auditions and competitions popping up like crazy this season so we’re diving into that! We discuss choices for the recital or talent show that will be big challenges for the semester! And my favorite part? Starting fresh in a new book or two. Even if it’s just a new sight reading book, it’s such a feeling of achievement to move into a new book at the next level.

Here is a link to one of the goals sheets I use with students. I really love writing out their goals so we can refer back to them during the year and remind ourselves of where we came from. Often times I have parents ask me if their child is moving forward enough or “falling behind”. While this makes me want to give my lecture on how every child is different and so on, I can also pull out these goals and show them how much we’ve accomplished this year. I have concrete evidence that we learned all these new minor scales, or we learned 2 big challenge pieces, or we entered this new festival that required more polishing and performance work than they’ve ever done before! And it really boosts confidence in the student to know they can reach goals with dedicated daily work.

And since I love setting fresh new goals, I have to share one more printable worksheet. This is a fun one I found online that we used with my family to set a few family goals. It’s simple to fill out and I loved the colorful design! Our family goals this year include trying new things (like skiing) and enjoying a few new adventures this year!

Happy New Year from both of us at 4DPianoTeaching!

Author: Whitney

Whitney Hawker, NCTM, teaches group and private piano at Weber State University, Utah. She loves surprising students with the perfect piece or a new exciting game! After graduate school, she missed sharing ideas and resources daily with colleagues so she and her friend, Spring, began blogging together at 4DPianoTeaching.com