I’m pretty sure that half the students who come to me for lessons do it so they have a weekly goal to work towards. They know I’ll want to hear what they’ve been working on and they use me as a performance goal. That’s also a big reason I do the student concerts with my face to face students. Besides being amazing fun, it’s a real world music goal. I’ve seen irresponsible teenagers develop all kinds of discipline when you tell them they’re performing a rock show in front of their peers in a month.
This is also based on my own personal experience. I hate to practice. If ever I have picked up a guitar to “improve my playing” I invariably ran through a few scales and exercises, got bored and started goofing around singing Jimmy Buffett songs. In college I was a vocal major. I love singing, but hated standing alone in a practice room learning art songs.
BUT, book me for a wedding and ask me to sing three songs I don’t know and you will see a practicing fool. For the last student concert I had to learn 20 songs, one with a talk box (never even seen it done live) and two of them on keyboard. I practiced everyday. About 10 years ago I got to play with a really great Latin band (steady gig, great musicians and the front girl was smoking hot), but on electric bass. I built a whole new set of calluses from practicing everyday!
OK, so you’re not looking for gigs yet and you don’t have students and band mates you can’t let down; set yourself a realistic goal. A real world performance goal that works for you. Tell your wife that you will play and sing Big Ol’ Goofy World to her on your anniversary. Bet your buddy that you can learn Brown Eyed Girl in 6 weeks. Send me $1000 by Paypal that I have to give back when you send me a video of yourself playing Eruption. (I like that last one) Seriously, it doesn’t have to be a huge concert, just find somebody with whom to share your music and commit to a time and date.
Music is meant to be shared. WE decide our music goals, but it takes an audience to make it real and hold us accountable to our dreams.