Goal Setting: Taking Advantage of THIS Semester

Spring classes are underway, competition rehearsals are in full-gear, and it’s time for a new semester of memories and academic adventures. It’s important to take full advantage of the time that you have this semester, but how can you make sure you’re accomplishing the things that you want to with your performance ensemble? Set goals. It sounds so simple, but setting specific and concrete goals is a great way to start the semester and ensure that you finish without letting opportunities pass by. We suggest making a list of short-term and long-term goals to give yourself “deadlines” and stay on track with what you hope to accomplish.

The first step is determining your end-of-semester goal so that you can list smaller steps that help move you toward that goal. In this step, it’s important to reflect on what you want to improve. Every group has differing strengths and weaknesses, both musical and non-musical. If no larger goal comes to mind immediately, take a few minutes and write down your group’s strengths and weaknesses to give you a clearer picture of what you want to work on. Maybe you want to encourage better teamwork in your group, or perhaps you want to use rehearsal time more efficiently. Maybe you have something musical you want to work on like vocal blend or sharper and cleaner choreography. Whatever that goal is, write it down and put it somewhere that you will see it every day so that you are reminded of the goal you are working towards.

Step two is to focus on the small, short-term goals and move forward from there. Here is a list of questions and suggestions for these short-term goal deadlines:

What can I accomplish TODAY?

  • I can plan my vocal warmups ahead of time to bring in elements of our competition set that need improvement.
  • I can start rehearsal exactly on time to take full advantage of the limited time I have with my students.
  • I can take five minutes of class-time to do a team-building activity.

What can I accomplish this WEEK?

  • I can perfect the hardest vocal section of our ballad. (Maybe try a sectional rehearsal!)
  • I can make sure my students have a packing list for an upcoming competition.
  • I can clean up the transitions between the numbers in our competition set.

What can I accomplish this MONTH?

  • I can make a game-plan for more efficient rehearsals with my student leaders (i.e. dance captains and officers if you have them).
  • I can delegate more responsibility to willing parent volunteers. (Ask yourself: what are some things that parent volunteers are able to do that would take stress out of my life?)
  • I can work on positive attitudes in my group by approaching challenges with positivity and encouragement.

Whatever your goals for the semester are, write them down and keep them somewhere that you will see them every day. Take advantage of the time you have with your performance group because this is the only semester you will work with this exact group of students. Keep up the great work, and best of luck to you this semester!

What do high school sports and performing arts have in common?

What do high school sports and performing arts have in common?

Cliques are a defining factor of many students’ high school experience. They vary from school to school, but there always seems to be a division between athletics and performing arts. Last week, one of our marketing managers sent us this article about Chicago Cubs rookie Kyle Schwarber and his involvement in high school show choir. After a little more research, I found information about several other professional athletes who were involved in high school performing arts: Danica Patrick, Joe Montana, and Walter Payton, just to name a few. While the physical skills involved in sports and performing arts differ greatly, the professional and social skills share more commonalities than one might think. Both sports and the arts offer opportunities to foster important life skills that carry students far beyond the walls of their high school. Here are four skills that students develop in both sports and performing arts:

TEAMWORK

Just like football players must work together to score a touchdown, choir members must work together to make a beautiful sound. Harmony doesn’t exist musically (or socially!) unless students work as a group. It’s natural for a football team to have a star player, but he can’t win a game on his own. In choir, there will be soloists and featured performers, but soloists don’t win competitions—choirs do. Understanding how to work on a team is an essential life skill that will carry young adults far beyond high school, and both athletics and performing arts offer plenty of opportunities to develop that particular skill.

DRIVE TO SUCCEED

Whether it’s a championship basketball game or a show choir competition, everyone likes to win. Winning does not happen without hard work and a lot of it. Both athletes and music students learn very quickly that success does not come easily, and they must put their best foot forward on the stage and the court to be at the top of their game. Sports and music are both competitive fields, and competition offers students motivation to work their absolute hardest, and this development of work ethic and drive will carry them into their college careers, professional endeavors, and personal lives.

HOW TO LOSE

As rewarding as winning is, losing also builds character and is an extremely important part of all stages of life. After all, isn’t winning that much more gratifying if you understand how it feels to be on the other side of it? When a basketball team loses a game, they still line up to shake hands or give high-fives to the winning team at the end of a game. When a show choir places lower than they would like to at a competition, that choir’s representatives must keep a positive face on stage during the awards ceremony. While losing can be difficult, it often contributes to a stronger drive following the loss, which plays a role in the future success of the team, the group, and the individual.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

High school athletes train for months in their chosen sport to get in the best shape they can and hone the skills that will offer them the best chance at winning. They also work hard to stay healthy so that their bodies are able to perform at the highest level possible. Performing arts students practice their music and choreography for months before performances and competitions so they can perform to their best of their abilities and hopefully win the competition they’re at. These students must take vocal and physical health into consideration as they prepare for their shows. To perfect any skill, one must put forth a lot of time and effort, and high school athletics and performing arts are both great arenas in which to learn this.

The football field and the stage may sit far apart on a high school campus, but both places offer opportunities for students to develop skills that are important during their high school years and in the time after they graduate. Whether a student chooses a high school sport, auditions for the show choir, or has the wonderful chance to participate in both, that student is learning how to be a team player, developing a drive to succeed, understanding how to lose gracefully, and perfecting their chosen skill. When that happens, everybody wins.