DSCN0109It’s a new school year bright with possibilities. Yup, I start teaching tomorrow. I will have quite a mix of returning and transfer students this fall. Regardless of their age or whether they are new or returning, every one of them has dreams for themselves. Hopefully they also can articulate some short and long term goals. If they can’t, it is my job to help them in the process of defining and reaching those goals. It’s also my job to help them understand the difference between their dreams and their goals.

What are the differences between goals and dreams anyway?

Goals require hard work and drive. Goals are precisely definable and can be measured. They have a beginning and an end. They are based in reality. What can I do now? What steps do I need to take to be able to do X? Usually, a series of short term goals are completed in order to accomplish a long term goal. In piano goals can be physical, emotional, musical, or skill based. At the college or adult level an important category of goals is financial.

Dreams inspire us. Dreams require hard work merely imagination. They don’t really need to be realistic. Dreams inspire us and help us get through the frustrating times. They give us the strength to soldier on when we would rather do anything else than sit down at the piano. Dreams are fluid. In fact, most people adjust their dreams naturally as they go though life. In order to live your dreams, you need to do the hard work of setting and meeting goals.

What happens when someone makes a dream come true?

Sometimes making a dream come true can cause a person to feel a huge void in their life— especially if it has taken many years to attain it. When that happens, it is best to be quiet and wait for what is next. While you wait, set some goals and accomplish them. Do some things that you never had the time to do before because you were so busy accomplishing those other goals that led to the dream that just ended. To forge new dreams, we need to become aware of a bigger picture than we were before. When I see my students close to fulfilling a personal dream, I try to stretch them in new ways and help them dream again.

And… Just after posting the above, I just found this, from The Bulletproof Musician, in my FB feed. A Test of 4 Approaches to Goal Setting: Here’s How to Set Yourself up for a More Successful Year  Great minds think alike!

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