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Setting Your Jazz New Year’s Resolution

As a follow-up to Brent’s “4 Ways to Keep Your Jazz New Year’s Resolutions,” I wanted to offer my perspective.  A new year gives you the opportunity to reflect on new ways to advance your playing and to grow as a musician.

If you haven’t already thought of what things you might work into your routine, here’s some good ideas for Your Jazz New Year’s Resolution(s) of 2016:


Consistent practice produces results.  Maybe you already practice every day.  If so, great!  If not, daily practice is one of the best things you can start doing in 2016!  Practice consistently and set goals for yourself.  Practice your instrument every day, or at least 6 times a week, if you like to take Sunday’s off, for instance!  What aspects of your playing specifically do you want to work on, and how much time can you dedicate?


Listening is such an important part of the process.  Listening should be the fun part, and it’s easier now than ever to hear music with online streaming services.  You should also make a point to go out and hear jazz live whenever possible, in addition to listening to recordings. Make 2016 a year with more listening!


Can you do a little transcribing every day?  How about several hours of it?  Digging in and REALLY digesting the music that came before you is one of the best things you can do for your playing.


Find some technical exercises that you can use to help you grow.  Work on them consistently.  Get a new routine when you master the old exercises and are ready for something new.


Can you find more playing opportunities this year?  Can you set up your life in a way that you are consistently playing jazz music with other musicians, hopefully including some more seasoned players so you can learn from them?  Can you go to more jam sessions or play more gigs?  Can you start up a jazz jam session in your area if there isn’t one already?


This is perhaps the biggest one.  You have to put time into this thing.  If you want to grow musically, you have to carve out large blocks of time where you can be immersed in the music, in one way or another.  How can you make more time for music in 2016?

If you are a professional musician in New York, you may be immersed in the music already.  If you are a jazz-playing banker with a wife and 3 kids in Nebraska, it may be harder to find the time, but if you are serious about it you’ll make a way.  If you are a retired school teacher, you may have the time on your hands anyway, so why not get more serious about your playing?

Here’s to your musical growth in 2016!  Pick goals that inspire you.

-Camden Hughes

Camden Hughes
Camden is a working jazz pianist, multi-instrumentalist, and music educator currently living near Boise, ID. He teaches music at the Idaho Arts Charter School, and is the jazz adjunct professor at Northwest Nazarene University. Check out his music at


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