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1. Get organized
Before being able to clear your heads and start planning for the year, you have to clear your space. Organize the area where you practice; throw out or donate anything you don't need, fix any instruments that need repairs, stock up on guitar strings, picks, and drum sticks. When you're finished you'll feel like you can take over the world!
2. Acknowledge 2009's accomplishments
Making goals will be an important part of starting the year off right, but let's first take a moment to honor the last year and all the things your band has to be proud of. You can either verbally acknowledge these accomplishments or write them down to display in your rehearsal space. Point out the best shows, funnest memories, and any ways that your band has made steps forward since the previous year. Pat yourselves on the back, then be ready to set up 2010 to kick 2009's ass.
3. Make a list of goals for 2010
This step is the meat and potatoes of this “How To”. You want to make an impression, take over, move 10 steps ahead this year. So what exactly do you want to accomplish? Does your band want to put out a new CD? Go on tour? Get a record deal? Think of all of your dreams that you've had as a band and turn them into goals for your 2010 list. Once all of your goals have been realized and recorded, break them down. How are you going to accomplish each goal? Take each idea one step at a time. For example, if you want to go on tour, first figure out who will be booking it: will you try to find an agent or book a DIY tour? How long do you want to go for? When will everyone be available? Then start mapping it out. Next, start making calls. One step at a time, you're moving closer to accomplishing your goal. If you want to get signed, you may want to start with getting press kits made. Perhaps networking and handing out our music download cards, IndieCards, for your band at events would be your ticket to getting signed. Think of each step your band needs to take, and write it down. The goal as a whole may seem overwhelming to accomplish, but each step is within reach. Want to put out a new CD? First decide how many songs you want to record. Then start writing the material. Find a producer and decide where you're going to record: do you know someone with a home studio or do you want to put in money to go to a state-of-the-art studio? Will you release it yourselves or on a record label? Anything you can think of doing, you are able to do. So dream big, work hard, and take it one step at a time until you've scratched every one of those goals off of your 2010 list!
4. Create a calendar
It can be easy to procrastinate or let time slip by without working at your goals, so here's an idea that'll keep you on track! Get a band calendar and hang it in your practice space. Use this calendar as a timeline for when you want to get things done, as well as for your practice and show schedule. If you wanted to have new t-shirts done by the end of the month, you won't have to worry about forgetting to order them if the deadline is staring right at you! This will also help each member because everyone will be able to clearly see what the schedule looks like, allowing you to...
5. Plan ahead
Using your calendar and list, you'll find it easy to plan ahead. This is the key to accomplishing goals, making progress, and not incorporating stress into any of your plans for 2010. Don't wait til the last minute to order CDs for your record release party, tshirts for your tour, or IndieCards for a music conference. Plan in the fall for next year's South by Southwest and start promoting your new record in the winter for a summer release. Big plans involve planning ahead, so don't let this factor take away from all the things you could be accomplishing this year. 2010... this is your band's year!