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Intentions for the New Year

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

By: Amanda Ekery

With the start of the New Year comes new plans, ideas, hopes, and goals. It seems everyone has been posting their resolutions over the past week and one post from Girls March caught my eye (Girls March is a fantastic organization empowering female percussionists through music education and leadership; it was founded by Raychel Taylor who wrote our Taking the Lead blog post).

Girls March Instagram Post

The post was simple and read “Intentions 2020.” This got me thinking about what’s the difference between intentions and goals, how can intentions be used, and are intentions easier to stick with than goals?

Intentions make you focus on the present and goals are future landmarks. You can set intentions right now whereas goals take time. Experience (intentions) vs. Outcome (goals) - I LOVE this!

Goals are important because they help us break down mile markers, allow us to work towards concrete measurable outcomes, but can also sometimes lead to stress if they are not fulfilled when and how we plan them.

How often do we as musicians get caught up in achieving titles and chasing resume builders instead of harnessing the value and strength we already possess? Making all-state, being lead in jazz band, or making first chair are great goals to strive for but are not the end all be all of what we can learn from these experiences.

What if these goals were enhanced with positive and mindful intentions? Making all-state can be the goal, but your daily practice intention could be to remember to be kind to yourself. Through every mistake, nervous sweaty hand slip, and audition, being kind to yourself while practicing will have a greater impact. Whether you make all-state or not, you will have established a healthy mental practice habit, you will be proud of the work you have put in, and can reflect on the overall process.

Here are some other intentions that can be paired with goals:

-To be open to the possibility of discovering something new

-To be receptive to information

-To suspend judgment

-To keep it positive

This is Yoko Ono's "Cleaning Piece" and is another great example of intentions.

This year, I am going to work on setting intentions. It may be daily or monthly; I may share them with a friend or keep them as reminders to myself. I have a feeling that intentions will be easier to stick with than goals because they will be things that I can do right now.

What intentions can you set for yourself today?

Amanda Ekery is the Founder and Director of El Paso Jazz Girls. She is currently lives in New York City and is the Assistant Director of Academic Affairs for The New School, Education Coordinator for Jazz at Lincoln Center, and a teaching artist for the Met Opera Guild in addition to running El Paso Jazz Girls. You can learn more about Amanda at and in our Letter from the Founder.

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