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With 2019 still young, now is a great time to set firm goals that stretch your abilities and improve your singing.

And to reach those goals, you have to get smart about them. I don’t simply mean clever, but SMART.

Make your goals:

S= Specific

M= Measurable

A= Achievable/Attainable

R= Relevant

T= Timebound

One of my experienced students, Joanna Copeland, is using SMART goals. Her aim is to score well in her AMEB exam later this year. With a busy career, time is precious so Joanna chooses goals she can commit to, that will see her reach exam standard.

First, know where you’re at now so you can measure your progress.

We’ve assessed Joanna’s level in performing each song, the exam requirements, the resources she needs (rehearsals, print music, regular lessons, and practice venue) and our available time. This is our baseline measurement.

Now, let’s look at each step of the SMART goal method:


Three specific goals are better than 10 vague goals. Giving them numbers and dates makes them clear-cut.

Joanna’s 3 goals are:

  1. Have 8 songs memorised and ready for the AMusA exam.
  2. Have all 8 songs at a performance standard
  3. Perform 5 out of the 8 songs at an event before the exam.


Measuring your progress keeps you motivated. Recording your singing lessons is one way to measure improvement. As your singing technique gets better, you can listen back and hear the changes.   

Joanna regularly records her lessons, and uses self-reflection to notice how her singing feels as she practices her technical work and songs. 


You may get carried away in your excitement to improve your singing, choosing goals beyond your skill level. In my experience as a singing teacher, it’s better to start small and build up.


Are your goals within your skill level and available time? Are they relevant to your broader aim?

With Joanna’s broader aim being to sing better and beat bad habits, she finds relevance when we work towards events like her exam.


This step relies on your commitment and accountability. As your teacher, I would support you in sticking to your time frame. You might also ask family or friends to keep you accountable.

Joanna stays on track by marking off achievements in her time table. Exam or performance deadlines keep her motivated.

Goals usually require persistence and flexibility, so be open to renegotiating them if needed.

Do you have a burning singing goal? With my professional guidance, I can help you work SMART to reach it. Get in touch with my Sydney singing studio.

Kathleen Connell is a Sydney-based singing teacher and vocal coach who trains both aspiring and accomplished singers in technique and vocal skills. She is an active member of ANATS, a writer and PhD candidate at Griffith University.

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